An interesting renovation between old and new
Baroque Court Apartments by Ofis Architects
Description by the architects
This project involves 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 court side block owned by Publishing Company. The ground floor used as bookshop and the spaces above on the first floor 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 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 reinstate 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 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 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 c naturally ventilated and cooled. All new windows have triple glazing; extra thickness of thermal isolation 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 maintained by heritage rules while the inward-facing transparent enclosure revitalized to create opportunities for communication between apartments at different levels. Twelve units 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 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.
photographs: Tomaz Gregoric, Jan Celeda