Attached to the steep wall of a medieval fortress in Gironella, Spain, this minimalist 65-feet-tall elevator connects the old and new parts of the town. Its perforated brick walls reference the historic architecture, blending into the surroundings. Barcelona-based architect Carles Enrich combined glass and brick, creating an inspired balance between traditional and modern design.
The elevator is located at the foot of the fortress and connects the old town with the modernized urban area, divided by the Llobregat river. The old town was once only accessible via a steep and uneven staircase, making the daily commute between two neighborhoods difficult, especially for the elderly and families with kids. By building the elevator, the connectivity between two parts of the town was enhanced, boosting social inclusion and activating the public square situated at the foot of the fortress.
The perforated walls of the elevator provide natural ventilation and allow users to observe the surroundings throughout the journey. “The choice of this enclosure material responds, on the one hand, to its role as a solar filter, offering porosity, light entrance and ventilation to the elevator case,” said Carles Enrich.
While most architects tend to design elevators using almost exclusively artificial materials and glass, Enrich’s approach was more conscientious and proves that even the most utilitarian architectural elements can be contextual and compatible with traditional architecture.
Photos by Adrià Goula