Carles Enrich's latticed elevator connects old and new town
Spanish architect Carles Enrich designed an elevator wrapped in brick lattice for the medieval town Gironella. The elevator aims to solve a municipal problem that originates from the geographical location of the town. The old city centre was built on the hillside, around 20 m high, featuring a medieval castle, and ancient stone wall (now under international conversation), and a traditional medieval core with narrow, cobbled streets. With industrial growth, however, the town started to expand on the other side of the Llobregant river flowing under the ancient walls, a flat area lying on the road to Barcelona.
With the emergence of the new district, a social division soon appeared: the old town became depopulated, mainly because it was difficult to access both for the elderly and for families with little children as well. The elevator therefore works as a tool for reintegrating the old and modern parts of town, bringing life back to the charming old streets.
The structure reflects on its surroundings not only in its function but in its form as well. Enrich erected a tower that draws on the architectural and (textile-)industrial heritage of Gironella, while also brings the most out of the abundance of greens the town is lucky enough to possess. The ceramic lattice, made by punching holes on bricks fits in with the ambiance of the old town. It also works as a solar filter and adds an airy quality, ensuring that the tower avoids looking like a rigid, monstrous structure.
Since the elevator runs up against the old town wall, its 4th, back side is left uncovered, allowing passengers to visually reconnect with the ancient stones. The lower 8 meters are completely glazed, which fits better with the contemporary surroundings, and give a great view of the ever-changing greenery nearby.
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