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.
Zois House Studios in Ljubljana, Slovenian by Arhitektura d.o.o.
February 22nd, 2013 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Arhitektura d.o.o.
Ljubljana, Slovenian capital, boasts a picturesque historic town core which is home to the grand Zois Palace, situated on the riverbanks of Ljubljanica. In the palace, Arhitektura d.o.o. designed a small modern hotel with eight studio apartments. Zois Palace was built at the end of the 18th century from several older buildings. It is famous for having been the home of Baron Žiga Zois (1747-1819) who marked Slovenian history as the patron of Slovenian cultural renaissance.
The exterior of the Zois Palace is well-preserved and reflects influences of neoclassicism. The original interior is also relatively well preserved. The Palace’s inner courtyard features an old fountain. The modern studio apartments are located on the third floor, in a former spacious 320 m2 bourgeois apartment. The original apartment was composed of five large rooms connected by a well-lit arcaded corridor, opening with a splendid 200-year old double door.
At the start of this project we decided to preserve all the existing historical elements of the old apartment, according to the principle: “do not touch the muscles”. In this way all the new elements were added so as not to interfere with the basic structure of the old apartment. Moreover, all the old elements were to be restored and displayed as historical exhibits.
The client’s investment was aimed at obtaining eight smaller studio apartments and a reception. However, given the original distribution of rooms, as well as the shape and size of the old apartment, it seemed at first, that achieving the planned equally-sized studio apartments would be difficult without radical demolition.
The position, size and technical inadequacy of the historical door was also contrary to the client’s initial idea of room arrangement, so they intended to wall it in and position a new door at a more convenient location. We chose a more appropriate solution. We used the framework of the old door in which a new, visually simple door was installed, which supports electronic opening.
In this way we were able to retain all the old doors, which were given an artistic and historical meaning. The “outer” arcaded corridor, connecting the individual studio apartments was given the role of a gallery with the door portals on display. The corridor’s compositional diversity was visually balanced by placing a single long line of ceiling light, which also serves to conceal all of the apartment’s installation.
An especially challenging task was furnishing each studio apartment with a new bathroom, a miniature kitchen and changing room. We treated these as standard modules which were concisely inserted into space, thus keeping the floor plan simple. The original parquet flooring and historical windows were preserved in all of the studio apartments, whereas the inner window wings were replaced by unified thermopane surfaces to reduce heat loss.
The furniture was custom designed according to the spatial arrangement of each studio apartment. In some cases the beds are extended into kitchen counters.
The architectural elements of the hotel, as well as the interior furniture in the rooms, bathrooms, and the reception are designed in chic minimalist style which underlines the original concept of making an apparent difference between the old and the new. The once dark palace dwelling has, with the new arrangement and design, become a shiny white hotel.
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