Aim – To create a home that supports the needs of its residents by providing spaces in which their personalities can “expand” and “contract”. This idea translates into spaces offering different levels of privacy and social connection - spaces designed to be shared with other household members and guests from the community and others that are defined as their own. Spaces they can retreat to and be with themselves. This is a crucial factor which aims not only to improve the quality of life of the women and their families, but also to instil a sense of pride and ownership in the temporary residents of Dar Terry.
Site Analysis – The property is a beautiful corner house with high ceilings, timber apertures, concrete tiles and a large sculptural staircase. Behind this staircase is a narrow backyard, engulfed by three-storey high walls on three of its sides. The east side wall is lower, allowing natural light and ventilation to come through from the second floor up.
Design Approach – Following the site analysis, we attempted to fit the new programme into the existing structure by carrying out as few structural alterations as possible, also choosing to restore the existing patterned concrete tiles found throughout.
The proposal includes the construction of a structure in the backyard to house a guest toilet at ground floor which is accessible by all, three bathrooms stacked vertically above it and a shared toilet on the third floor. The new intermediate levels are connected to each of the original floors through the existing staircase landings.
The staircase thus becomes the heart of the building, connecting all spaces and encouraging social interaction. This shared space extends to the top floor where the shared living spaces are located. The three women and their children can, here, come together as one family, sharing an open kitchen, living and dining area, together with a laundry and roof terrace above.
The roof, with its panoramic views of the Grand Harbour area, has been designed to include a small vegetable patch to be taken care of and enjoyed by the residents. This simple gesture aims to bring the residents into close contact with nature in the midst of living in a dense urban environment.