Text description provided by the architects. AP’s project for ‘The Coach House’ in Balzan has been shortlisted in the New & Old - Completed Buildings Category at World Architecture Festival (WAF) 2018. The Coach House is located in the historical heart of the town of Balzan, on the edge of the Urban Conservation Area. There is little historical information available about the property, which is thought to have always served as a service building connected to the adjacent Palazzo Bosio.
The palazzo was built in the 18th century for Vincenzo Bosio, Commandator of the Knights, as his own residential quarter. The Coach House refers to an outer set of buildings in immediate adjacency with the Palazzo, probably predating the construction of the main palazzo. The programme of the project is organized around the need to preserve the functional nature of the pre-existing building while accommodating the requests of the new owners.
The programme also responded to the pressures on the site from both adjacent development and the historical connection with Palazzo Bosio. The original property was in a dilapidated state, with most apertures missing, stone walls without any mortar joints, and severe biological growth due to the humid environment resulting from the lack of use and maintenance. In order to turn what used to be a one-story service building into a home, an extension was designed and grafted on the perimeter wall of the pre-existing structure. The well-defined approach to the project was, first of all, the restoration of the fabric of this humble yet historic, valuable property.
All extensions and their structural interventions were carried out in a way to ensure the protection of the existing building and the reversibility of new additions wherever possible. The volume of the main extension, in fact, sits exactly on the perimeter of the pre-existing building. A new staircase, an independent sculptural structure which is self-supporting and constructed from solid steel plates, was built as a connection between the old and new and their different levels.