Upside-Down Maisonette

Living room

Living room (formerly the bedroom)

This renovation of my two-story apartment in Barcelona’s El Raval neighborhood consisted of inverting the spaces on the different levels in order to take maximum advantage of a private rooftop terrace with panoramic views of the city. Originally, access to this terrace required traversing an upstairs bedroom reached by climbing a steep ship’s ladder from the entry hall below. The upstairs bedroom was converted into the living room so that it would be adjacent to the terrace, and the original downstairs living room was converted into two bedrooms. A new upstairs kitchen was created out of what was formerly a corridor, allowing the downstairs kitchen to be transformed into a study. A new stair was built to replace the ship’s ladder, a new wooden deck now covers the terrace, and the sliding-door opening onto the terrace was doubled in width.

Upper Floor Plan
Lower Floor Plan


Kitchen (formerly a narrow corridor)

Stair connecting both levels


Office (formerly kitchen)


Two bedrooms (formerly living room)


Main bedroom


Main bedroom


Secondary bedroom


View of moon rising over the Barcelona waterfront’s ‘twin towers’



I’m responsible for the framing, electrical, drywall, and wood work, and very grateful to the following professionals who were also involved:

Structural consultant: Carmela Torró Micó

Steel work: Miguel Vila

Masonry and plumbing: Ion “Juan” Veverita


About Rafael Gomez-Moriana

I am an architect, writer and educator. chronicles my architectural making, writing, teaching and curating activity, while is an archive of my writings as well as a platform for venting personal rants and observations. I studied architecture at the University of Waterloo (Canada) and at the Berlage Institute (the Netherlands). I direct the University of Calgary’s architecture term-abroad program in Barcelona, and have previously taught in the Metropolis Masters Program in Architecture and Urban Culture, CIEE Architecture and Design program, as well as at Carleton University and the University of Manitoba.

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