The traditional loft apartment arose out of the transformation of an industrial space into a residential one, bringing a commercial scale and space to the domestic realm. Over the years, the term has been much debased as square footages shrink and oxymoronic terms like ‘new-build lofts’ creep onto the market.
It’s therefore refreshing to find a post-industrial residence that retains all the character of the original space.
Loft A: converted industrial space in Pamplona
Loft A began life as a motorbike repair shop in Pamplona’s Milagrosa district, south of the city centre. Designed by Cristina Vergara and Enrique Rojo of Arrova (Atelier Rojo-Vergara), the project was intended to be a prototype for the area, which has a large number of abandoned and redundant industrial properties. ‘Their transformation would greatly help to revitalise the area,’ the architects write.
Arrova was set up in 2018 and has offices in Pamplona and Zurich. Before that, Rojo studied in Spain, the UK and Switzerland, and worked at the Zurich office of Raumbureau. Vergara also studied in Spain, before working for David Chipperfield Architects in Shanghai and EM2N Architekten in Zurich.
The first job was to strip out all the unnecessary internal elements, opening up the space to its full extent. The reinforced concrete structure is therefore laid bare and forms the bones of the composition, with the angle beams and columns setting up a rhythm within the space.
The newly liberated interior enables light to come in from both ends, with the original entrance turned into a semi-private porch space that provides an arrival sequence, shielding the living space behind a wall of glass and a sheer floor-to-ceiling curtain.
The floorplan is simplicity itself, maximising every available square metre by pushing all the services – kitchen and bathroom – to the edge of the structure. A central plinth, raised six steps above the principal floor level, divides the space.
Step down and you enter a sunken kitchen and study area, with iroko wood counters set beneath the floor slab and glass screens to bring in light. The study is lined with raw shuttered concrete, left unadorned to contrast with the white-painted original frame. The original foundations are also laid bare.
Rojo describes it as a ‘domestic stage pit’, a counterpoint to the theatrical podium for living above it. The slim aluminium-framed staircases that provide access to the podium are also movable, allowing for different configurations. A sleeping area is located to the rear, behind a large wooden screen, with sight lines throughout the whole apartment interior preserved wherever possible.
‘This strategy of undefined spaces is what allows the user to appropriate the space according to their needs,’ say the architects. ‘After all, a loft must be, as its etymology indicates, an open place, a timeless place in which to live and work in a flexible manner.’
Receive our daily digest of inspiration, escapism and design stories from around the world direct to your inbox
Jonathan Bell has written for Wallpaper* magazine since 1999, covering everything from architecture and transport design to books, tech and graphic design. He is now the magazine’s Transport and Technology Editor. Jonathan has written and edited 15 books, including Concept Car Design, 21st Century House, and The New Modern House. He is also the host of Wallpaper’s first podcast.
Hedi Slimane creates second Celine dog collection to outfit and amuse your pet
The second Celine dog collection is revealed in an Hedi Slimane-shot photo series, starring the designer’s canine companion Elvis and some royal friends
By Jack Moss Published
Contemporary photographers making great leaps are united in London show
‘From a Common Gesture’ at London’s 10 14 Gallery, curated by Wallpaper*, unites 11 contemporary photographers working at the forefront of their field
By Sophie Gladstone Published
Byredo holiday collection draws inspiration from Wim Wenders and Georgia O’Keefe
Byredo’s creative image director Lucia Pica speaks to Wallpaper* in an exclusive interview, revealing her off-kilter design process
By Mary Cleary Published
Low-energy house in Catalonia minimises its footprint to make the most of its site
Alventosa Morell Arquitectes’ low-energy house in Catalonia nestles into the landscape
By Jonathan Bell Published
Hortensia Herrero Art Centre puts Valencia on the contemporary art map
Hortensia Herrero Art Centre launches in Valencia, offering a home for contemporary art to sit side by side with archaeological treasures
By Blaire Dessent Published
Collective, Hong Kong and Spain: Wallpaper* Architects Directory 2023
With bases in Hong Kong and Spain, Collective joins the Wallpaper* Architects’ Directory 2023, our annual round-up of exciting emerging architecture studios
By Ellie Stathaki Published
Nicolás y Nicolás, Spain and Ecuador: Wallpaper* Architects’ Directory 2023
With offices in Spain and Ecuador, Nicolás y Nicolás is part of the Wallpaper* Architects’ Directory 2023, our annual round-up of exciting emerging architecture studios
By Ellie Stathaki Published
This light-filled Spanish house is defined by openness and geometry
A Spanish house by Arquitecturia Camps Felip is designed around its courtyards and its six volumes’ bold geometry
By Ellie Stathaki Published
Spain’s Casa Primitiva is ruled by simplicity
The pared-back Casa Primitiva by Hanghar fits in perfectly in its semi-rural Spanish context
By TF Chan Published
Architecture for animals leads the way at this school for dogs
Details are designed with dogs in mind at Spain’s Educan School for Dogs, Humans and Other Species
By Hannah Silver Published
Bold graphics and clever interventions define this Barcelona house redesign
Nestled amongst the Roman archaeological remains and buzzing eateries of the Borne district of Barcelona, BSP 20 is Raul Sanchez Architects' latest residential project
By Martha Elliott Last updated