Reconstructing A Family House: In A Row by No Architects
A client, who is chased around the world several times a month by his specialization and indispensability, decided to anchor with his family in one of the older terraced houses, perhaps coincidentally, “within sight” of the airport. It is a three-story terraced house with a semi-closed basement, with a front garden and rear garden, and a view from the upper floors far out into the landscape of the mountain Bílá Hora (where a famous battle took place). The house already has a lot of advantages, but as it happens, it still needed to be half demolished, rebuilt and completely re-equipped with 21st century infrastructure in order to really exploit its full residential potential.
In a Row is a reconstruction project by No Architects. When the architects arrived, the backbone of the terraced house was a gently depressing steel staircase walled off in a dark corner of the house. They started by drawing it into the living area and cutting spaces out between the flights of stairs. This brightened the staircase and made inhabiting the vertical house a more social affair than the original strictly separated floors allowed, thanks to the new sightlines.
The team explained that this was not entirely easy, as the floor structures are hollow core slab ceilings, implemented in the 1970s by the inhabitants themselves, just as the whole building was built or renovated by them. Therefore, it was necessary to double-check every step with a structural engineer and a builder to avoid any unpleasant surprises and to prevent any risk of injury to the contractor, just in case the bricklayers had underestimated something somewhere in the past.
The overall rehabilitation entailed, in addition to the strengthening of the house, a complete replacement of the internal infrastructure, including electrical connections, replacement of windows, insulating the facades, demolition and rebuilding of the terrace, repairing the roof, replacement of all surfaces and many other compositions.
The design team also made major changes to the layout, where they rearranged the internal workings, relocated some rooms to opposite sides of the house, or connected the kitchen to the living area and staircase simultaneously through an opening in a load-bearing wall at the very limit of the structural engineer’s courage.
The team then finished the interior to make it beautiful for its inhabitants, so they could live in it as if it were one endless holiday.
Original Text by Jakub Filip Novák, Daniela Baráčková, Petra Doudová, Barbora Jelínek. Minor edits have been made.
Photography by Studio Flusser