Amin Taha recreates Belle Epoque in bronze with winning Costa Brava design
London-based Amin Taha Architects has won the international competition to design a seafront spa and apartment building in Canet de Mar on the Costa Brava
The practice was chosen ahead of five other firms including Indian star Sanjay Puri, Italy’s NATO and Josep Ferrando Bramona from Spain.
The winning scheme retains the facade of an existing Neo-Classical building, extending its frontage with a galvanised sheet ‘fabricated to form cornice, pilaster and window details’.
The €6 million project will house 12 flats, a restaurant and bar. Practice founder Amin Taha said the scheme aimed to ‘rebuild the missing pieces of a Belle Époque coastal mansion … its lost rooms having left an internal palimpsest reflected externally as a ghost facade in the form of a perforated bronze skin.’
The architect’s view - the facade system explained
‘Bronze is thermally applied onto a galvanized perforated sheet which is fabricated to form cornice, pilaster and window details. This bonds a micro-millimeter of bronze, patinating and protecting the sheet from corrosive coastal air for the lifetime of the building. It is also maintenance free.
‘The scale, quality of detail and form of the retained building are used as a 1:1 imprint. New floor plates sit behind and detached from it at levels not aligned with the ‘original’ window positions but with wide and light weight balcony structures spanning from floor structure to façade. As with mashrabiya the perforated skin acts as a sun shade and privacy screen. When opened for clear views the ‘façade shutters’ aligned with new floor plates cut across original cornice lines, pilaster and window details. In this way expressing the separation and activating an overall building form into open-able sun shades during the height of summer from a monolithic monument to the past during the low season.’