Aim – To create a supportive residential facility where prisoners are prepared for their release through a therapy programme that allows them to engage in domestic activities with their family as well as professional therapy, individually or together, within the house itself.
Site Analysis – The property is located on a stepped alley with a narrow outlook onto the street, surrounded by third parties on three sides. Third party floors overlie the existing main staircase at roof level, limiting access to natural light and ventilation. A neighbouring backyard encroaches on the central part of the property, creating a narrow connection between the front and back ‘wings’.
Design Approach - Our analysis led to the understanding that more light needs to be brought into the heart of the building. Sunlight and outside views uplift the morale and give rise to a more normative and stimulating environment. The living spaces are designed to encourage interaction between residents and their guests. These have been assigned to the top part of the building, which is naturally brighter and has views of the Three Cities and the Grand Harbour. In our bid to accommodate the programme within the parameters of the existing site, we came to the conclusion that the staircase is compromising too much of the property, as all the natural light and ventilation enjoyed by the façade is being taken up by circulation space. This led to the relocation of the staircase to the central part of the property.
This move allowed for two of the three bedrooms to be located on the front of the house, overlooking the quiet narrow street. A third bedroom is situated at the back and is served by the proposed backyard/garden. The existing roof slab is not structurally sound and needs replacement. In our proposal, the new slab stops short of the back boundary wall to create a source of natural light and ventilation for the bedroom and bathroom beneath.
A glass block façade rises above the existing front elevation, recessed in respect to the original structures. The proposed party wall is punctured with glass blocks at random intervals, letting in light without compromising servitude and simultaneously addressing the issue of blank party walls.