Once a Ruin – Czech Republic

ORA architects were approached too reconstruct a house in the Czech Republic that suffered significant damage, a former homestead rebuilt under the communist regime into a granary. The house was looted and reorganised for another purpose. During the first site visit, the studio analysed its joints, niches, and protrusions, discovering the original forms. Despite its previous inconsiderate rebuilding, the house had not lost any of its grandeur. On the contrary, the way it is situated, the way it rises to the sky and the way it’s raw matter resisted time, have proven to stand the test of time.
It was ruin to the bone, all that was left of the original house was a brick envelope with a roof. Any attempt at a traditional repair would mean losing the original character of the ruin. Therefore, the studio rejected a speculative reconstruction of the original state, as well as any other imitations. They proposed to fix the current state of the ruins and enter the house anew. House to house, house inside a ruin.
They proposed to tear down the inner parts of the building and return its original layout with two floors instead of three, as well as the original scale. Without sentiment and depending on the needs of the layout, the studio opened large openings where needed and built a new insulated house into the existing ruin, that meets all current energy standards.
The new building penetrates through openings in the old wall and on the contrary, the old wall enters through new windows. The project is the studios manifesto of how it is possible to treat old houses. It is not necessary to lose the authenticity of old age. It is not necessary to demolish, neither to reconstruct dogmatically. At the same time, even in such a case, it is possible to build economically using modern materials and achieve the required parameters. Just as the house has respected its history since its inception, the garden has been designed to become a natural part of the landscape. There are no physical boundaries.

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