Poor insulation is one of the main problems when renovating old homes into modern residences. It results in excessive heat gain during the summer, and heat loss in the winter. Architect Drtan Lm from Malaysia recently completed a renovation of a home where they took an interesting approach to combating heat gain. The house they worked on was quite dilapidated, but it did contain a lot of intact terracotta tiles, which they decided to recycle into a sunshade for the home.
The home got its name from this too and is called Clay Roof House. It is located in Petaling Jaya, Selango, Malaysia, and faces west, meaning that lots of sunlight enters it both in the mornings and afternoons. Since the terracotta tiles found in the home were of a very high-quality, the architects used them to create a terracotta brise soleil, as well as a second brick lattice brise soleil, which work to minimize the home’s solar heat gain, as well as reduce much of the glare.
They also made the terracotta tile shading mechanism fully operable, so it can be opened and closed in order to let it air and lights. The added bonus is that the tiles create a beautiful lighting effect inside the home. The terracotta also glows a warm orange in the sun.
They also left exposed brick, concrete and wood in the interior of the home, which blends perfectly with the lovely terracotta brise soleil. The interior of the home features a large living area, several bedrooms, as well as a piano room, study, two kitchens, and a maid’s quarters. For a home this size, preventing heat gain was of the utmost importance, especially given Malaysia’s climate, and the architects did a great job of offsetting some of the cooling costs with this clay tile shading system.
Repurposing and renovating old, disused buildings is still one of the most sustainable forms of architecture. So it is always nice to see such projects being successfully completed, as is the case with this old office building in Lisbon, Portugal, which has been turned into an apartment complex by the local firm Waataa. The offices were transformed into cozy and functional studio apartments, which feature clever multipurpose furniture in order to maximize the available space.
The original offices had high ceilings, which is a great advantage when working with small spaces and the architects used it to the fullest. The original spaces also had large windows, which let in plenty of natural daylight. The apartments were fitted with cabinets in the walls, and they feature modules painted in bright colors to add some vibrancy to the studio apartments. The colors are also used to designate the function of each module. Blue is for the sleeping area, which is where the Murphy bed is hidden. Yellow was used for the kitchen, above which is a mezzanine level intended as a lounge, a work area, and an entertainment area.
The mezzanine level is accessible via a set of alternating tread stairs, which were made out of particleboard. The bathroom is quite spacious and it is located below the mezzanine level. A skylight lets plenty of natural light into it.
The tables and beds all need to be folded down to be used, which can be a nuisance for some, but does save a lot of space. It also serves to bring the inhabitant closer to his or her living space, since there is constant interaction with it. These apartments are great for students or young professionals, and should offer an affordable living arrangement in a city where rents are quite high.
Awhile back, architect Rolf Bruggink from Utrecht, Holland purchased a property on which stood an old, 1950s office building, and a coach house built in 1895. He planned to renovated the latter into a home, so he first demolished the office building. He salvaged a lot of materials from this demolition though, and reused them in the home renovation.
With the help of architect Niek Wagemans, Bruggink first drew up the plans of how to turn the old coach house into a modern home. Much of the focus was on reusing the old as much as possible, and to basically just give an old structure a new life. In that, they very much succeeded.
The coach house measures 538 sq ft (50 sq m), which was all more or less one space. To create some partitions, they first inserted a series of enclosed, suspended wooden volumes, which basically divide up the house into the needed areas, namely bedrooms, bathroom and office. It was a very clever idea to use these suspended volumes for the purpose of separating off the space into different rooms, since the coach house had a very tall ceiling and this space was thus very well utilized.
All these overlook the open plan dining, living and kitchen area. They also cut out a large window from the coach house wall to let in more natural light. The interior is very modern and minimalist, with a bit of an industrial aesthetic thrown in.
This is yet another example of a sustainable home renovation done right. It’s always more eco-friendly to live in an existing house, than to build a new one. And while they did demolish an office building in this case, they reused and salvaged a lot of the materials from that.