Hotel Novetats

  • LOCATION Barcelona
  • > CLIENT Private
  • YEAR 2014
  • STATUS Built
  • CATEGORY Architecture
  • SCALE City
  • TEAM OUA Group in collaboration with another architecture studio

“The recovery of the space inside the block is a detail that reflects the initial project of L’Eixample and making it happen has allowed us to create a new public space”

Located in a privileged setting in Barcelona’s L’Eixample (just a hundred metres from Plaça Catalunya) stands the new Hotel Novetats. The project is characterised by sobriety and elegance, which enhances the neo-Gothic style of its neighbour Casa Rocamora and it shows how the inside of the block is recovered for public use.

The new building presents a play of volumes that creates interesting lights and shadows, and it makes the most of the interior and exterior spaces. With a total surface area of 8,400 m², this new urban hub incorporates a roof terrace with a swimming pool, commercial and restaurant spaces and an underground car park, in addition to the five stars hotel and the interior block, which is open to pedestrians. One of the OUA architects in charge of the project, Àlex Gómez gives us more details.

What is the most outstanding element of the proposal?
The volumetrics of the façade which is more fragmented than the rest of the buildings in L’Eixample. This innovation in the play of volumes has allowed us to resolve the transition with Casa Rocamora as well as to emphasise the new access inside the public block and to facilitate the maximum use of the interior and exterior spaces. In this way, we have enhanced the natural lighting conditions of the rooms, we have reduced energy consumption, and we have created attractive visual perspectives that respect the environment.

How does the location influence the definition of the project?
The fact that it is an urban architecture project located at the nerve centre of the city makes the hotel a strategic connection space not only with the city but also with the entire municipality.

Consequently, the project’s desire was to make the most of the buildable space but also to dynamize it and open it up to the citizens. In this sense, the dialogue with different agents of the City Council and an exhaustive analysis of the urban planning of the area has made possible a highly participative design process and has improved the relationship of the building with the adjacent spaces.

What specific elements help to build the relationship between the building and its surroundings?
The recovery of the space inside the block, for example. It is a detail that reflects the initial concept of L’Eixample, and making it happen has allowed us to create a new public space for citizens. It is accessible through a large double height passageway located on Casp Street, in which natural light plays a leading role.

The floor is characterised by a circular layout around two courtyards, one on each façade. These courtyards provide light and privacy for the rooms surrounding them, as well as bringing cenital lighting to the ground floor of the hotel.

Terraces are emblematic elements of the city of Barcelona, and this building is a clear example of the potential they can bring out. We have designed them on different levels, with areas with horizontal and vertical vegetation. These spaces are always walkable, so hotel users can enjoy the marvellous views of Passeig de Gràcia and dream of a new landscape of the city of Barcelona.

However, the greatest challenge has been to create a friendly transition on the façade shared with the historic Casa Rocamora.

How did you approach this change of language between more than a century of architectures?
We wanted to generate contrast and, at the same time, continuity between Hotel Novetats and Casa Rocamora. Through a set of volumes with simple lines, we pursued to enhance the architectural ensemble designed by Joaquim Bassegoda i Amigó in 1917. We also wanted certain connections to favour the transition between the façades: we have aligned the cornice with an opaque wall, we have chosen an artificial stone similar to the stone of Montjuïc in order to create homogeneity in terms of texture and colour, and through large openings, we replicated the Casa Rocamora’s top geometry.