Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Baroque Court Apartments in Ljubljana, Slovenia by OFIS arhitekti d.o.o.
March 28th, 2012 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: OFIS arhitekti d.o.o.
This project involves the renovation of three Baroque block houses with an enclosed internal court in the old city center next to the City Hall, opposite the Robba Fountain and close to Plecnik’s three bridges.
Existing condition: All three courtside block are owned by Publishing Company. The ground floor is used as bookshop and the spaces above on the first floor were used for offices and last adapted in the early eighties. The internal court was rebuilt as a closed, semi glazed service space used for the building’s main air conditioning devices.
The brief required to connect the houses into one single unit with implementation of 12 apartments around the small internal court. Baroque elevations facing the street had to be mainly reconstructed to their original state, the internal court on the other hand could be adapted and revitalized; both under the State Heritage supervision. The concept reinstates the existing court as a new central communicating space between levels and apartments. At the same time provides light into the apartment spaces overlooking the court. Since the court is very narrow and enclosed from all sides the main concern was how to provide as much light as possible and to become a central form of internal garden. The result is a fully glazed envelope formed along with reflective elements covering historic elements on the courtyard elevations.
The reflective façade glass parts are outlines of historical stone arches, pillars and slabs, which were discovered during the construction. These historical elements become part of the interior and form reflections on the glazed envelope. Together with the transparency of the apartment spaces and reflective elements the court benefits from additional light and visual elements. Exterior features such as tower of Ljubljana Dome and the castle are also reflected down into the courtyard. Sustainable issues: Maximum spaces are used for living areas, the internal court is open-air; gains natural light for internal apartment spaces together with providing natural ventilation.
Central atrium works as generator of light and natural ventilation. Since the facades are mirror reflective they bring sunlight into apartments with reflection effect. All apartments are cross ventilated and can be naturally ventilated and cooled. All new windows have triple glazing; extra thickness of thermal isolation is calculated to respond all requirements of low energy consumption. Heating is central from the City central plant.
Summary: Renovation of three adjacent houses transforms an originally contained internal courtyard into an open-air contemporary glass light well. the street elevations have been maintained in accordance with heritage rules while the inward-facing transparent enclosure has been revitalized to create opportunities for communication between apartments at different levels. twelve units are arranged around the central void which overlooks a ground level garden. The surface’s reflective finish increases illumination levels within the narrow chasm, introducing daylight into the open floor plans which maximize natural light sources. Placed inside the curtain wall, the historical stone arches, pillars and slabs which were discovered during construction become interior elements, and similarly reflect through the glass. ventilation from the court circulates through the dwellings while the roof top residences receive cooling breezes eliminating the need for additional air conditioning.
Contact OFIS arhitekti d.o.o.