Casa Bottega 2019

Architect Chris Briffa lived next door to this period property for eight years. Dilapidated, structurally unsafe and abandoned, when presented with the opportunity to purchase it through court auction, Chris seized his chance and bought the 17th century house, located at the lower end of the Valletta peninsula.

His studio devised a design for a building that would function as both architectural practise and domicile. Over five years, with myriad concept permutations, the structure was transformed for home and studio to co-exist, retaining distinct identities and addressing diverse needs, within the confines of an urban, historic neighbourhood.

The first two floors contain the studio, while the second floor acts as buffer zone. With this being between office and home, formal and informal are catered for. The sala nobile  a space without strict function, an architectural library and a music room, a home theatre and a presentation facility, a place for power naps and late night chats.

 

 

 

The master bedroom’s continuous, low window is sensitive to mood, with morning light bouncing off the oak floors, and a ten-metre long line of cacti, you are compelled to look outwards, whether in bed or taking a shower.

The penthouse above the bustle of the street feels expansive, liberating. The folding living room doors pack up in a steel-unit which blurs the line between interior and exterior. Natural light fills the entire space from every wall, foliage and trees frame the roof top views, with both harbours beyond.

The sense of playfulness is demonstrated in the ‘tree house’, a low space located above the kitchen, where the children can be close by. The kitchen is the heart of this home, with a stainless -steel workbench that allows the cook to access tools in an efficient cooking-work triangle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The new extension sits on two pre-cast concrete beams, which shift the entire weight of the penthouse onto the side party-walls, thus freeing the house from any additional load. The insertion of the beams was the culmination of excitement during site works, as they were slotted in, Lego-like.

Subsequently, there was the designing and fitting of the steel railings, which follow the direction of the serrated edges of the beams. Their aesthetic success lies in their surface – cast over a carpet of timber slats – which gives them an ethereal, lightweight appearance in the sunlight, billowy and curtain-like.

 

 

The scheme, which was phased over five years, is a confident, considered experiment in creating a symbiotic living and working space that has been Chris Briffa Architects’ office and studio since 2016. The building saw a multitude of interventions, with the latest being the newly built extension that houses the family residence.

The architecture needs to be primarily considered within its immediate environment, as a testament to an idealised and subsequently realised way of living, in direct relation to and as a result of the idiosyncrasies of this Mediterranean harbour city.

Furthermore, the coming together of home and work within one space forms part of the actual movement away from strenuous lifestyles, towards an integrated, harmonious existence that adheres to our multiple roles, acknowledging the importance of each.

 

Text by Emma Mattei

Images by Aldo Amoretti

 

 

Casa Bottega 2019

Architect Chris Briffa lived next door to this period property for eight years. Dilapidated, structurally unsafe and abandoned, when presented with the opportunity to purchase it through court auction, Chris seized his chance and bought the 17th century house, located at the lower end of the Valletta peninsula.

His studio devised a design for a building that would function as both architectural practise and domicile. Over five years, with myriad concept permutations, the structure was transformed for home and studio to co-exist, retaining distinct identities and addressing diverse needs, within the confines of an urban, historic neighbourhood.

The first two floors contain the studio, while the second floor acts as buffer zone. With this being between office and home, formal and informal are catered for. The sala nobile  a space without strict function, an architectural library and a music room, a home theatre and a presentation facility, a place for power naps and late night chats

 

The new extension sits on two pre-cast concrete beams, which shift the entire weight of the penthouse onto the side party-walls, thus freeing the house from any additional load. The insertion of the beams was the culmination of excitement during site works, as they were slotted in, Lego-like.

Subsequently, there was the designing and fitting of the steel railings, which follow the direction of the serrated edges of the beams. Their aesthetic success lies in their surface – cast over a carpet of timber slats – which gives them an ethereal, lightweight appearance in the sunlight, billowy and curtain-like.

 

The master bedroom’s continuous, low window is sensitive to mood, with morning light bouncing off the oak floors, and a ten-metre long line of cacti, you are compelled to look outwards, whether in bed or taking a shower.

The penthouse above the bustle of the street feels expansive, liberating. The folding living room doors pack up in a steel-unit which blurs the line between interior and exterior. Natural light fills the entire space from every wall, foliage and trees frame the roof top views, with both harbours beyond.

The sense of playfulness is demonstrated in the ‘tree house’, a low space located above the kitchen, where the children can be close by. The kitchen is the heart of this home, with a stainless -steel workbench that allows the cook to access tools in an efficient cooking-work triangle.

The scheme, which was phased over five years, is a confident, considered experiment in creating a symbiotic living and working space that has been Chris Briffa Architects’ office and studio since 2016. The building saw a multitude of interventions, with the latest being the newly built extension that houses the family residence.

The architecture needs to be primarily considered within its immediate environment, as a testament to an idealised and subsequently realised way of living, in direct relation to and as a result of the idiosyncrasies of this Mediterranean harbour city.

Furthermore, the coming together of home and work within one space forms part of the actual movement away from strenuous lifestyles, towards an integrated, harmonious existence that adheres to our multiple roles, acknowledging the importance of each.

 

Text by Emma Mattei

Images by Aldo Amoretti