Spanish architecture studio CRÜ turned this old public laundry in the district of Les Corts into a house and studio for a couple in west Barcelona. Called La Clara, the renovated structure benefits from a two-story volume at the rear and a studio space at the front on the ground floor.

These two new volumes circle two courtyards and a glazed corridor that serves as a transitional space dividing the studio from the rest of the home. The positioning of the courtyards was “a key aspect of the design” of the building as it provides a distinction between the home and the studio. A larger one separates the studio from the private house to the rear.

Meanwhile, a smaller courtyard livens up and draws natural light into the private spaces. The studio called the central courtyards “voids” which offer “an innovative solution to provide natural light and ventilation to each room while visually and spatially separating public and private areas.” Inside, La Clara features an open-plan living and dining space and three bedrooms. 

The main bedroom on the upper story is accessible via a brick staircase tucked behind the kitchen cabinetry. This room looks out into both courtyards and has external facades clad in corrugated metal sheeting. Meanwhile, the ground floor mostly features troweled concrete complemented with white metal trusses and ducting, exposed brick walls, and concrete beams.

CRÜ aimed for the renovation of La Clara to pay homage to the history and memories associated with the laundry shop by celebrating the “effervescent rawness” of the current building fabric. This means preserving the existing elements or as CRÜ described it, “All existing walls and stairs are undressed to show only the entrails, to recover the stench of soap and gossip. This aesthetic choice imparts a sense of continuity and rawness, reinforcing the project’s connection to the old laundry.”

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Images courtesy of Adrià Goula for CRÜ Studio