Situated in a series of old medieval buildings in the Gothic neighborhood, one of Barcelona’s most historic districts, the Hotel Mercer elegantly blends the old with the new. The hotel is structured around the original courtyard, which has been preserved and planted with citrus trees. Most of the rooms have balconies towards either the courtyard or the street, so natural light abounds.
The interior design is modern and fresh, but at the same time subdued and respectful of its setting. On every occasion we took the building's historical elements and idiosyncrasies, its corbels and its arches, as hidden treasures and design opportunities. As a result, every room is unique, as the overlay of the new design lets the spatial qualities of the older construction read through. The hotel's high standard of finish and level of amenity complement the genuine antique roughness of the structure.
The search for comfort permeates all our choices as designers, and the warmth of textures and colors plays a critical role in our choice of materials. In the simplicity of forms it is evident that we wanted the medieval building structure to be the protagonist.
The project restores the masonry walls that once belonged to the city's fortifications, parts of which date back to Roman times. The dialogue between the old walls and the new elements is the heart of this project and, at the same time, the instrument by which the traveler reads a part of the story of Barcelona.
The main idea behind the project has been to recover the spatial character of the existing buildings as it is formed around the principal courtyard that separates the two historical structural bays. It proposes, first of all the elimination of the added buildings during the XX century.
The project proposes a new relationship of use between the parts of the building through the introduction of a gallery surrounding the principal courtyard.
Two new courtyards, smaller than the original one, supplement the main features of the project and provide adequate lighting and air circulation to all the parts of the building.
Finally, we want to emphasise that our intentions in developing the project have been guided by our respect and recognition of the value of the inherited elements, by our search for an ideal relationship among the parts, and by our wish to make the best volumetric adjustments given the projects surroundings.
Moneo Brock is an Architecture, Planning and Design firm offering personalized solutions to complex design problems.
With broad experience collaborating with large teams of designers, engineers and consultants in the productions and coordination of architectural projects, the firm has completed works ranging in scale from large public buildings to domestic interiors.
In their designs one can find an individuality of approach; the team treats each project as a new beginning and opportunity to investigate the vocabulary of architecture. Belén Moneo (Harvard, 1988) and Jeffrey Brock (Princeton, 1985) always pay great attention to the satisfaction of users, creating functional as well as original spaces. A project’s urban context or natural setting is carefully considered; the local climate is analyzed in detail so that energy efficiency can be assured, and the social and economic context is thoughtfully reviewed so that all conditions for true sustainability can be met.