New infill / Passive design family home

location: sliema, malta

year: 2014 – 2016

Nestled in a quaint street in the locality of Sliema, this new contemporary townhouse was designed to replace a previous one-storey dwelling, with the retention of the original façade and entrance hall. The original footprint of the house was spread across the front portion of the infill plot, with an expanse of garden at the back. While the garden enjoyed a good amount of light during the day, the same could not be said for the rest of the building. With this in mind, the key design aspect that was taken on board, also reflected in the clients’ brief, which was the creation of well-lit and ventilated spaces.

The design solution involved the introduction of two strategically placed courtyards into the existing breadth of the property, in addition to the back garden. These outdoor spaces not only add good air and light quality, but they also function as alternative spaces in the house, as secluded outdoor places perfect for escaping the sunny blaze during the summer months. Due to the difference in temperature between these cooler spaces and the hotter back garden, which receives direct sunlight for a good part of the day, and using the principle of convection, as the warmer air rises it channels out cooler air from these two courtyards that is in turn drawn across the living spaces, naturally cooling the building. The thermal mass of the external skins, increased by means of external insulation on the back façade and through an insulated double façade having a masonry finish on the front, retains heat in winter and delays heat gain in summer.

Functionality as well as decadence is brought to the fore through the introduction of customised furniture items. Light is further emphasised by the central staircase that is stepped from underneath in order to accentuate its prominence within the house, finished in wood with a clear glass balustrade. These design elements are brought together homogeneously in a play of density, light and shade.

Photography by Ramon Portelli.