Rapprochement

Location : Haz-Zebbug

Status : Completed Aug 2015

At the projects conception the state of the site was probably one of the most influential factors during the preliminary design process. 

The buildings old facade and structure stood tall; its stone texture and exposed structural details gloated, proud of their age and presence. Even at the beginning it felt evident that any new construction would have to be done with a new architectural sensitivity; embellishing what had matured with time whilst adding another dimension to the buildings fabric.

Not only did the site impose its perameters; other such impositions were made by the client when they gave their brief. Aside from the normal requests in terms of the buildings functionality another request was made; they wishesd to have a house that would incorporate cuvature in its design.

So it seemed to be quite evident that design process could not follow the rudimental path of simply adding to the existing structure; for that would end up an accretion, not a work of architecture.

The proud structure held within it negative space that was interpreted as a place where the building would grow. Mathematically, a curve, would also need to be contained within some form of defined space between two tangential points.  

Suddenly the old structure became a cradle for its offspring – together these would form a  new building allowing the old to distance itself from the new – leading to the inception of space that would be both indoor and outdoor.  The volume eneabled ventilation and shelter the old building yet, circumstantially, the divide also induced natural ventilation throughout the new framework whilst encouraging diffusion of natural light, reaching out to all levels of the building.

Entering the building through the existing structure into a shaded car port, alongside a depressed garden, this forecourt dips beneath the building, illuminating it. Behind you the old stands greeting you warmly, in front of you the new teases you with its glow. Both offer you different paths, ergo different ways of living in the building.  Whatever path the user chooses, all are functional and practical with a little bit of mystery; the old whispers whilst the new beacons all the while singing a tune together. 

On the far end of the site, at its depths, the old structure seemed to whisper it held nodes that could form a curve. This curve rippled inwards togwards the new volume, creating the outline of the pool. Again it rippled, this time gaining momentum and swinging inwards to form the pool deck and the new volumes facade. The momumentum of the ripple moved upwards – creating a glow in the new ceiling.