The transformation project of the warehouse building of the old industrial complex of Fabra & Coats in Barcelona is included in the process of the city recovery. This textile complex of the XIX and XX centuries will bring to the Sant Andreu district more than 28,000 m2 of facilities and social dwellings, and at the same time, it is part of the “BCN creation factories” network.
The Fabra & Coats complex was the first to emerge from a partnership between Catalan (Fabra) and British (Coats) industrialists, and it is also the first to include social housing in the regeneration of an industrial heritage site. The preservation of architectural heritage is not incompatible with the achievement of social and environmental objectives. On the contrary, urban recycling can be an ally in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, the New Urban Agenda and the European Green Deal.
By mixing refurbishment and new construction using nature-based and recyclable materials, Can Fabra provides a good example of how to reconcile design and sustainability. At the same time, its social use as affordable youth housing and training facility for Castellers proves that innovation can benefit all of society, and it should do so if we want to ensure that the energy transition leaves no one behind.
Beyond general results and learnings, Can Fabra also provides an interesting case study for the recycling of obsolete industrial facilities. In the era of deindustrialisation and digital transition, European cities will have to cope with an increasing number of abandoned industrial and commercial buildings for which the climate crisis will compel us to find a second use. Addressing this phenomenon as an opportunity to generate sustainable, mixed, and diverse communities is a moral obligation towards our own society and the planet as a whole.
Fabra & Coats lightweight, dry and reversible construction for heritage rehabilitation
New structure and wooden facades to avoid having to reinforce the structure of the heritage warehouse. The wooden structure, 5 times lighter than one made of steel, allows not to exceed the 1,100kg /m2 capacity of the original building.
Use of all the load-bearing and thermal capacities of the original building for the new use of social housing
The structure of the warehouse and each part of the new construction move freely and independently, thus also solving the acoustic insulation between houses.
In the future, it will be possible to return to the original state of the building by disassembling all the assemblies of the new construction.
Reduction of CO2 74%.
Energy rating: A
Mixing renovation and sustainable new construction, Can Fabra achieves a low carbon footprint mainly due to the use of nature- based recyclable materials. Of the total surface area of the project, 54% is refurbished while 46% is newly created.
Through urban recycling, Can Fabra achieves the preservation of industrial heritage while offering solutions to contemporary housing needs. It does so by combining design and comfort, while at the same time being aware of the need to reduce the resource and energy impacts of the project.