Can Sau was a residential property located within the old city centre of Olot, where nowadays it is not unusual to see vacant sites. Given that half of the building was affected by a future street alignment, it was demolished leaving an urban void characterised by a party wall and four stepped buttresses facing the side façade of the Tura church, dedicated to the patron saint of Olot. Resulting in an urban environment characterised by abandoned lots, loss of definition, disfigurement and the destruction of the surrounding streetscape.
After being commissioned by the city council to come up with a new pavement treatment for the demolished site and taking advantage of an ongoing contract to provide waterproof metal cladding to the exposed buttresses, the project was reformulated. The allocation of resources to the vertical plane was considered a matter of urgency, and which apart from guaranteeing its waterproofing would lend the space a greater sense of urbanity. In a compact city like Olot the street façades shape the urban context and provide its character.
An emergency mise-en-scène employing hollow brick was constructed that completes what the raw structural buttresses suggested, revealing traces of domestic activity in the background with their imprint on the party wall. A series of three vaults and four niches is offered to the public space as a three dimensional façade, further defined by the paving treatment. It is an unfinished and versatile structure which can be adapted to situations. The visual artist Quim Domene carried out a number of interventions a posteriori within the niches, with elements allegorical to the history of the neighbourhood.
Situation: Can Sau. Carrer Valls Nous, 1. 17800 Olot. Catalonia, Spain
Authors: unparelld'arquitectes: Eduard Callís, Guillem Moliner, Quim Domene, visual artist
Design and construction team: Clàudia Calvet, Xevi Rodeja, Sara Palmada, Sergi Jiménez
Structural Designer: Amaia López
Building Engineer: Gemma Planagumà (Olot town hall)
Client: Olot town hall
Builder: Construo Construccions Generals
Photographs: José Hevia, Roger Serrat-Calvó
Gross Built Area: 113m²
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