Refurbishment of a small attached house

Workspace, exhibition space (and hidden dwelling)

The premise was to carry out the refurbishment of a row house built in the 20s, classified as “recognized poverty housing”. There was a limited budget and the place’s character had to be kept in the outside. It has a front and a back garden.
The idea was to set up an artist residency space / housing for a multitasking freelance.

The project needed a versatile space where one could work with heavy tools (welders, radials, dust, paint …). It also had to be able to transform itself into a public exhibition space or office to receive clients in just a few hours. Given the reduced floor plan (6x7m), it was decided to dedicate the maximum amount of free m3 to this purpose. The rest of the program was condensed and hidden behind a white wall with openings to serve the mentioned space.

On the ground floor we find:
A large warehouse with a 3m high door (to store almost anything and hide the clutter) that is automatically closed by weights and pulleys.
A door to a toilet.
Three small openings for a projector, more storage and views.
And a door (somewhat elevated), that gives way to the private zone.



The private area of the project starts in a flight of stairs/drawers that go up to the freelance / resident artist’s lodging. There we find a shower (an iron box with a boat window), and a gangway; a bedroom that flies over the main space.

Under the height walkway, some pulleys serve the exhibition / workspace: a 4,80m long table can be hanged from them, or any other heavy object (a swing, for example).

The kitchen is camouflaged in the rear garden’s shed. The space is not conditioned. It consists simply of a long worktop to serve appetizers (fires and sink are hidden at both ends). The metallic carpentry unfolds to completely open to the outside.

This is currently Barbecho’s place. (Barbecho means Fallow in Spanish) A space that rotates between workshops and artist residencies, dedicated to the design and production of useful objects.


Architect: Pía Mendaro
Promoter: Mendaro Arquitectos
Photography: ImagenSubliminal (Miguel de Guzmán + Rocío Romero)

Built area: 67m2
Plot area: 126m2
Date: 2017



Architects: Pia Mendaro
+34 666 99 75 00
Calle Acebo 10
28016, Madrid, SPAIN

Pía Mendaro (Madrid, 1991) graduated as an architect at Superior Technical School of Architecture Madrid, ETSAM (2009-2016). She’s currently working freelance, having completed three small refurbishments between 2016-2017: transformation of a work office into an apartment, renovation of a row house, and a small gallery in Madrid center. At the same time, she works as an associate at Mendaro Arquitectos. She’s impatient with architecture’s timing, hence designing (and self-producing) furniture and studying botany and gardening in the meantime. She’s a teacher assistant in the Architecture Master, Polytechnic School Madrid, and manager at Barbecho space, focused on useful design. At present, Pia has several furniture projects ongoing in Mexico and Spain and is starting a small office, focused on garden design and outdoor lighting.

Acknowledgments in architecture: Schindler Architecture Award 2013/2014 for mobility / accessibility solutions (2013). Graduated with Honors in her final thesis, ETSAM (2016). Young Talent Architecture Award (YTAA) finalist, Mies van der Rohe Foundation, (2016). Others: Participation with analogue photography at Be fast, Slowtrack exhibition, curated by Jonay P.Matos, Slowtrack, Madrid (2015). Participation as junior designer at The Architecture Gallery, TAG, Madrid (2017).