Did you know: before becoming popular around the world, mansard roofs were developed in response to a loophole in the building codes of historic Paris? Heights were limited by city standards but the measurement only went up to the cornice line, so the entire extra ‘attic’ area (now premium Parisian apartment and condo space) slipped past the relevant law and turned into an international style sensation.
What used to be a sharply-angled top-floor flat outside of Prague has been turned (by Sepka Architekti) into an outstandingly modern variation on the classic mansard roof style. Like this historical building approach, the character of the structure changes dramatically from the lower walls to the upper metal-clad and very contemporary-looking penthouse space.
The built-out ‘attic’ area was transformed into a far more open space with fewer angled walls and significantly more access to natural light view expansive new rectangular windows. While it certainly sticks out from its surroundings as an ultramodern home addition, it also fits a rich tradition of differentiating the uppermost floor of a residence from those below it.
No less exception, the interior is unique and unusual in a variety of ways. Some smaller more private rooms are painted with bright and bold color schemes. Other common areas and shared spaces show off unfinished hardwood floors, recycled composite-wood wall products and built-in wooden bookcases. A circular porthole skylight sits squarely above a likewise round dining room table, a modernist interplay of solid and void.
From the architects:
“The existing attic space layout of a terrace house from the 1930s was not suitable for the owner’s new requirements. We opted for a radical solution to improve the functional arrangement of the attic space and to significantly increase the total area of the flat. A new mass with a platform roof extending beyond the floor plan of the building was attached to the existing roof truss.”
“The new mass of the facia is also reflected in the interior, including the porthole created in response to the vertical layout of the interior. The large view of the porthole faces north towards Prague. Roof lights situated above the dining and coffee tables deliver light to the living area from the southern side. White surfaces with an oak floor were preserved in the old section of the attic.”
“The new facia is constructed of OSB slabs and covered with titanium and zinc sheet metal on the outside. Newly introduced elements, such as the bathroom, toilet, kitchen and some furniture are distinguished from the original space by their colour.”