flores & prats + duch-pizà transforms aristocratic house into cultural center

flores & prats + duch-pizà transforms aristocratic house into cultural center

 

the casal balaguer has been renovated and transformed to host a new cultural center in the heart of palma de mallorca. previously an aristocratic house dating back to the 14th century, the expansive and delicate piece of architectural history has been given a new lease of life and turned into a public building open to everyone.

 

we work with everything we inherit at once, without granting one period priority over another. instead we value the whole as a new presence that for us is contemporary and which we approach in order to decipher its rules in order to design its own future. accepting the accumulation of history in an existing building requires discipline it means accepting the ghost that manifests itself in the building’s past as a physical quality imbued in things by time…’comments ricardo flores and eva prats, flores & prats architects.

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all images © adrià goula

 

 

the architecture firms involved were flores & prats architects and duch-pizà. for the palma cultural center, together they surveyed and used a sympathetic response that  was respectful to all the pre-existing conditions. simultaneously they adapted the program to cater to the new uses. throughout the restoration project the architects played with the treatment of light, with the added openings and circulation routes. daylight is used as subtle feature to guide visitors through the building and highlight the complex geometries of the walls and structure.

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a new circulation has been added and this route is clear; making it possible to easily walk through the building despite its complex geometry as a result of the building’s long evolution. the ground floor is now the entrance to the new cultural center, with the addition of the reception, cafeteria and exhibition space spread over two floors. the piano nobile becomes the house museum, and the attic level, just underneath the roof, is used as the print workshops of palma’s fine arts center and a lecture room. as part of this transformation, flores & prats + duch-piza’s strategy sought to prevent the palace from losing its spatial complexity and mystery, which has defined its extensions to this day.

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