Architecture

Dilapidated Czech ruin harbors 21st century surprise

Dilapidated Czech ruin harbors...
House Inside a Ruin was completed in the past few months and is currently available to rent
House Inside a Ruin was completed in the past few months and is currently available to rent
View 13 Images
House Inside a Ruin was completed in the past few months and is currently available to rent
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House Inside a Ruin was completed in the past few months and is currently available to rent
New modern glazing was added to the House Inside a Ruin and it also looks like it's had a new roof too
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New modern glazing was added to the House Inside a Ruin and it also looks like it's had a new roof too
House Inside a Ruin's interior measures 248 sq m (around 2,600 sq ft) and is centered around a double-height living area
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House Inside a Ruin's interior measures 248 sq m (around 2,600 sq ft) and is centered around a double-height living area
House Inside a Ruin's living area includes a kitchen and dining area
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House Inside a Ruin's living area includes a kitchen and dining area
House Inside a Ruin includes three floors
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House Inside a Ruin includes three floors
House Inside a Ruin's interior decor is more modern than its exterior suggests and it has contemporary furniture and concrete finishes
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House Inside a Ruin's interior decor is more modern than its exterior suggests and it has contemporary furniture and concrete finishes
House Inside a Ruin includes four bedrooms
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House Inside a Ruin includes four bedrooms
House Inside a Ruin includes a total of five bathrooms
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House Inside a Ruin includes a total of five bathrooms
House Inside a Ruin's interior includes some of the building's original materials, including the wooden beams found to be structurally sound
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House Inside a Ruin's interior includes some of the building's original materials, including the wooden beams found to be structurally sound
House Inside a Ruin is located in the Czech Republic
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House Inside a Ruin is located in the Czech Republic
"The windows do not fit precisely the openings in the old wall, and it some places, the old wall is also present in the interior," says ORA
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"The windows do not fit precisely the openings in the old wall, and it some places, the old wall is also present in the interior," says ORA
ORA briefly considered a standard restoration. However, the firm says the building was "a ruin to the bone"
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ORA briefly considered a standard restoration. However, the firm says the building was "a ruin to the bone"
House Inside a Ruin is situated on a large rural plot which was landscaped by Štěpánka Černá
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House Inside a Ruin is situated on a large rural plot which was landscaped by Štěpánka Černá
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After being commissioned to turn an old dilapidated building into a residence, the Czech Republic's ORA briefly considered a typical restoration. However, the firm says it was "a ruin to the bone," and decided on a more radical approach instead, tearing down the interior and inserting a new modern home within.

The project is named House Inside a Ruin and has a usable floorspace of 248 sq m (around 2,600 sq ft), spread over three floors. The building itself was originally used as a large luxurious home – the rental page (in Czech) lists its construction date as the 17th century, though the architects aren’t sure when it was built – and was seized during 20th century communist rule and turned into a granary.

ORA created an inner shell from insulated brick to form the new interior, which is kept apart from the old existing structure with a ventilated gap. Additionally, the firm reused structurally sound wooden beams and boards to create the uppermost ceiling.

House Inside a Ruin's interior measures 248 sq m (around 2,600 sq ft) and is centered around a double-height living area
House Inside a Ruin's interior measures 248 sq m (around 2,600 sq ft) and is centered around a double-height living area

"We have inserted a new current layer, differing in its purpose from all the previous ones," says ORA. "A ventilated gap is maintained between the new and the original structure, and the structures do not touch. The new structure is sometimes slightly shifted from the old one. The windows do not fit precisely the openings in the old wall, and it some places, the old wall is also present in the interior. There is a visual intertwining of the two worlds. The new building penetrates through openings in the old wall, and on the contrary, the old wall enters through new windows."

The interior of the home is arranged around a double-height living space that contains a wood-burning stove and a kitchen and dining area. A bathroom is nearby and stairs lead to four bedrooms, each with their own bathrooms. The decor is modern and features contemporary furniture.

The garden is also extensive, with grounds surrounding it that include an orchard and meadows. This was landscaped by Štěpánka Černá.

House Inside a Ruin was conceived back in 2016 and constructed between 2018 and 2020.

Source: ORA

View gallery - 13 images
9 comments
guzmanchinky
That is really beautiful inside and out. I'd worry about earthquakes but that's just because I'm in California... :)
wle atlanta
big deal, how much did that cost?
Johannes
Brilliant design and execution, but the builders must have had nightmares where the two shells intersect.
Vincent Bevort
What's so new about this?
ppl already do this with s.c. barn conversion when they build a new building inside the barn without even touching the old structure.
PeterBrandt
I wonder why they didn't repoint the exterior brick ? Just for the asthetic aspect. Did they want it to look run down ?
The deerhunter
With those high ceilings it looks like it could be a challenging place to heat and keep warm in the winter. I was thinking that more floors and more rooms might have made it more convenient to manage
Nicky
Yes, it has been done before, yes, it looks rundown and yes, it is expensive - to construct and to visit. But you have to put the building into the context of its location.
By pure chance, this building is about 15 kilometres from where I live. It is in a beautiful, quite remote (for central Europe) area. It is in the former Sudetenland with all the related consequences - a sad history, post-war neglect, present-day remoteness from urban areas, but subject to well-meant attempts to make the area attractive for local holidaying and businesses.
In my opinion the building portrays all of this in a distinguished manner and fits in to the local architecture without seeming to patronize. As to who can afford to stay here, that is another question.
Kpar
It is nicely done, but I would like to point out that this has been done before- the US White House was completely gutted after WWII and rebuilt inside, while the exterior was left standing.
Marco McClean
It's like a big "tiny house" trailer. It's like somebody saw a tiny house and thought, Let's do exactly that but a little bigger. I like the special purpose pet-bathing and goat-slaughtering sinks. And there's plenty of room inside the walls for secret passages and a safe room, or for storing potatoes and onions against a time of greater need, and there's even more hidden space inside the roof: a whole secret upper floor. Finally, if there's an earthquake and the ancient outer shell crumbles away, you still have the entire house you built, and even if it all falls, you get enough heavy timber from just that magnificent ceiling to build four new houses or a pair of darling Spanish galleons, perhaps one inside the other. Hmm, what or who is inside the couch. The previous owners? Another couch?