The brief of this competition called for the conversion of an abandoned small warehouse into an apartment for a modern couple. This small space, covering an area of just around 30 sq m, had to be redesigned in such a way so as to function properly both as a residence and a working space. The pre-existent small construction has been dealt with in such a way, in order to exploit its potential more as a dynamic structure rather than as a static form. For this reason, the given building has been considered basically as a cluster of structural elements, which are articulated with each other, forming an articulated structure in space.
The load bearing structure of the warehouse has been interpreted as a small chain of reinforced concrete, comprising six columns founded on the ground and interconnected with a beam, which in turn supports a pitched roof. This concrete structure makes the spine of the building, carrying in a way its 'genetic code', by this meaning the basic rules that dictate its form and the way it stands in space. Despite all other secondary parts of the building, its main structure is permanent and unchangeable, thus taken for granted. It’s the only element that cannot be modified. As a result, this stable spatial structure is what dictates the way every other secondary structural element comes to fill it, in order for an enclosed, sustainable and functional space to be produced. Although the structural rule set by the load bearing structure seems to be binding at first, it proves to instil a guiding spirit at last, offering great flexibility in the long run.
The small building is considered less as a solid, predefined mass, but more as an articulation of elements, a structure that can lead to various interpretations. Apart from being just a shell that has to be decorated and modernised, in order to fulfil the contemporary tastes of its inhabitants, the pre-existent old warehouse has been conceived as a structure that can be interpreted and designed in a new, modern way.
In the end, what dictates the form of this renovated new space is this concept of a dynamic structure and its interpretation in order to comply with the new function of the building as an apartment. The building as a living entity, apart from having its internal form changed, has had its external appearance altered as well, resulting in a much desired essential architectural balance and correspondence between inside and outside and vice versa.
Architect: Panagiotis Zakkas
Net Area: 30 sqm
Project Year: 2012
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