Cal Simó was built in 1965 to house the workers of the Puigneró factory in Sant Bartomeu del Grau.

After the closure of the factory in 2003, these 70 dwellings experienced a gradual loss of inhabitants to a minimum of 8 currently occupied houses. With 62 empty houses (more than 66% of the locality), nowadays the building appears as an oversized structure for the town and its demand.

The work shown here is based on the understanding that there is a cheaper way of intervention than rehabilitation, which is partial demolition. Even though being aware that this implies a loss of built volume, a strategic subtraction can entail an added value on the remaining structure resulting in a higher economic performance.

In this sense, we understand that a strategic demolition on the most structurally compromised points enables to sponge the total volume improving key issues of the building such as accessibility or habitability. The privileged position of the building facing the landscape, the need of intervention on the structure in the back of the building, the poor state of the attached constructions… invite to develop a more intense intervention on the back of the volumes.

We understand that in order to compete with the existing housing offer in the locality, it is necessary to generate substantial improvements in the lighting and ventilation of these dwellings. With this, 4 strong demolition operations are carried out on strategically selected points aiming to substantially correct the building’s problems while carrying contained operations in the rest of the volume.

Once the surplus of built volume has been identified, the project aims to add value to the infrastructure through subtraction.


architects: Siddartha Rodrigo Clúa, Javier Gavín Balda  |  client: ETSA Valles  |  status: Academic Project (2017) Project (2017)  |  location: Sant Bartomeu del Grau, Spain (41.984539, 2.172854)  |  climate: Mediterranean, Temperate  |  materials: plaster, metal, wood  |  environment: Rural  |  visualizer: Studio  |  scale: medium  |  types: housing, refurbishment, residential  |  views: 3.391