The power of architecture lies in the tradition of the place in which it arises. In Zabrze, a city of Upper Silesia metropolis, the building tradition closely related to the culture of coal and steel is expressed by red brick and solid craftsmanship. Yet the culture of coal and steel has passed. Too often, together with this culture, into the oblivion also go architecture, memories, sentiments...
Let’s start from the beginning yet. The project is a redevelopment of a small single-family house from the 1930s situated on a really small parcel in a city among tenement houses from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. Atypical (urban) and difficult location of this building – on a tiny parcel between bustling and noisy streets – was a real challenge and an inspiration for us. Our main aim in the project was to extend the usable area of the house while maintaining its original architectural character - typical to this area. We wanted to create more intimate space and a place of rest for residents and at the same time to find the proper space relation between the historical house and its dominating neighbourhood – two-storey higher tenement houses. Taking into account such spatial conditions our idea was to divide the house into zones according to the storeys: the higher storey, the most intimate and private zone. The ground floor intended for a ‘daily zone’ available for guests consists of a living and a dining room, a kitchen and a guest room. The second floor is a “private zone” with bedrooms, bathrooms and a study. Above the roof there is one more storey called “green oasis” that is a hidden terrace surrounded by a high hedge – the best place for relax out of neighbours’ eyes.
Three-zone structure of the house is reflected also in the shape of the building. The ground floor ground and gable walls preserve historical articulation. Above there is a modern metallic ‘patch’ enclosing private rooms. Finally the high green hedge – like a cocoon - protects and creates the most intimate area of the house.
For us - the value of new architecture when rebuilding a small house comes from its origins – the building tradition. Although the conditions and usage requirements change, what is valuable and still possible to save, finds the proper place in the present. The new – on one hand manifests the diversity but on the other hand complements some deficiencies – the lack of greenery, intimacy, individuality. We hope the union of all these elements allowed us to create something more than just a building – a new quality in terms of culture, space, ecology, life. We tried to invent and define architecture of a local house again, from the outset.
Location: Zabrze, Poland