Architects: Dalibor Hlavacek
Location: Prague, Czech Republic
Project Year: 2012
Photographs: Filip Slapal
Motto: „The flatness of today’s standard construction is strengthened by a weakened sense of materiality. Natural materials – stone, brick, wood – allow our vision to penetrate their surfaces and enable us to become convinced of the veracity of the matter”. (Pallasmaa, 2005)
The architectural interior design of the small loft apartment strives not only to accomplish the investor’s and author’s functional requirements, but alsoto reach a spatial experience perceivable with all our senses by means of material, colors, and shape combinations.
The loft conversion is located in the Bubeneč Prague district in a corner apartment house built in the thirties. The attic is northeast oriented,facing the street. Originally, it was used for drying laundry. The basic disposition concept reacts to the configuration of the surrounding urban environment. The “social” quarters utilize a view of the Stromovkapark and a ZOO in Troja, the bedroom part is placed in front of a high-grown lime-tree. The tree obstructs a view from the opposite buildings and helps cool the interior in the summer.
The concept arises from two contradictory requirements; an effort towards the most effective usage of limited floor space, and at the same time, the creation of a clear,generous space. The loft apartment is therefore conceived as a duplex apartment; the kitchen - living room is two-storey and offers a view into the roof construction. The quiescent part of the disposition (bedroom, bathroom and toilette) is spanned with an open gallery containing a study.
If need should arise the study can be used as a guest-room. In the future, the gallery will function as the parents’ bedroom and the present bedroom will be changed into a children’s room. The gallery is accessed via staircase and a steel footbridge, creating an intimate “promenade architecturale“, thus enabling perception of the elevated living-room space and the gallery space from different perspective.
The goal of the design was to create a clean interior without decorative overkills. Every centimeter of space is used as storage space. The staircase to the gallery also functions as a kitchen unit, a gas boiler and a bookcase are placed into the niches between chimneys. Bathroom cabinet harbors a washing machine and a drier. Space above the toilet holds cleaners and closet literature. Inbuilt wardrobes form an entire bedroom wall as well as a gallery wall. An electric switchboard is part of the inbuilt furniture. On the gallery, two working tables are placed into the space between windows, offering a view of the roofs of the opposite houses.
The interior material solution creates a dialogue between rough surface of the original brick chimney walls and the clean contours of plasterboard constructions. Mass of the sanitary space is clearly distinguished by gray plaster inviting to be touched. Floors and solitaire furniture are oak; the inbuilt furniture is white varnished. The kitchen was designed with great care. Even though it is small, it offers all the necessary surfaces and spaces. Kitchen cabinet doors are made of oak veneer, the worktop is patinous granite neroassoluto, appliances and holds are stainless-steel.The rare-facing panel of the kitchen is lined with glass of the same tincture as the upper cabinets.
Four window triplets of roof windows with low-energy glass illuminate the entire loft space. The windows minimize the need for artificial lighting and help to create a feeling of interior airiness. Outside screens are connected to an intelligent electronic system and in the summer protect the interior from overheating.