Located in the historic heart of Toru?, Poland is a beautifully preserved medieval town which is listed on the World Heritage register. Within this town is a new residential development called MONKA consisting of nine rental apartments that unfold across three floors of a picturesque gothic building. Designed by Polish architect Pawe? Tatara and architectural practice Znamy Sie the project addresses an architectural conundrum – how do you reconcile the need for contemporary dwellings with the imperative to preserve the city’s building heritage? The issue was especially pronounced in this case as the architects had to work with a centuries-old building that was initially built not for housing purposes but for grain processing.
A matrix of round-top windows, which once served to load and unload the sacks of grain into the storage facility, imbue the building enhanced by the bright red brickwork and the steeped gable roof.
In order to resolve low ceilings and low natural light, the architects ingeniously designed the second and third-floor apartments as two-story, loft-style maisonettes, which maximise the potential for natural light courtesy of the double-height spaces and the open-plan layout, while for the fourth-floor apartments they took advantage of the attics above to increase the ceiling height and introduce skylights.