For the most recent ‘bulthaup | the kitchen as a living space’ competition, the members of the jury awarded the prize to the "Country Home in Osona" project, presented by the Sandra Soler studio-with the collaboration of distributor bulthaup gallery Sant Cugat for the kitchen-noting the “the sensitivity with which it is able to incorporate a contemporary kitchen into a traditional country house with highly defined architectural features. They also aimed to underline the skillful choice of materials, in keeping with those already in place, and the successful integration of the kitchen within the living space as a whole.”
The challenges of modernization
Fortunately, gone are the days when the “new is always better” approach took its toll on some of the architectural heritage of our towns and cities. Today, reclaiming that legacy has led not only to placing value on “emblematic” monuments but also attending to a previously overlooked rural and urban landscape.
Nonetheless, this process does not come without its risks, given that pre-existing structures constrain and condition a demanding renovation that aims to respect the past and take it into consideration. Adapting an old home to the uses and requirements of contemporary life can become a major challenge and the successful achievement of that reflects professionalism well worthy of respect.
Those are the values that the jury for the bulthaup 2019 prize recognized in the “Country Home in Osona” project. Sandra Soler was able to convert an old country house into a modern and functional home without undermining its architectural elements and characteristic materials: stone, brick, iron, and wood.
A kitchen as a hub for a shared living space
Limited by the particular layout of the space, Sandra Soler opted for an L-shaped open kitchen flanked by large windows opening on to a garden and surrounding wooded area. Thus, while respecting the original structure of the country home, she was able to lay out the different work spaces and create a kitchen area that is connected to the rest of the living space.
The long side of the L is the main body of the kitchen, made up of bulthaup b3 units. A line of tall units in alpine white laser-edged laminate houses appliances and storage, while the center island, with the same finish and facing the windows to the outdoors, serves as the cooking area and water point. The island includes a solid oak bar top which perfectly matches the ceiling beams. On the short side of the L, a b2 kitchen tool cabinet holds the glassware and small appliances, and an open-front line of b1 wall units houses the washing machine and a second sink.
Innovation and dialogue
The only innovations that are bound to last are those which dialogue with the past -and that is why Sandra Soler values bulthaup’s timelessness. In her project, a skillful combination of functionality and sociability has breathed new life into an age-old space filled with its own history yet adapted to the demands of the present.