Located in Limassol’s historic center, this corner building from the 1950s lay abandoned and semi-destroyed until recently. Influenced by the local urban architecture style of the time, it comprises a ground floor level for commercial use and an upper level apartment, with a main entrance on the side road. Its distinctive ‘ship-like’ shape is mainly due to the peculiar urban planning of the specific area.
The structure of both the ground floor and first floor consists of reinforced concrete with cellular slabs and a wooden roof. The walls are made of brick masonry.
The design study of the ground floor involved its conversion into a multi-use cultural space. The demolition and subsequent removal of all later additions was considered a priority in order to reveal the original architecture of the building. Moreover, we concluded that some of the elements had to be preserved not only for aesthetic reasons but also to reflect the building’s history. Specifically, the 20x20cm yellow shaded terrazzo style mosaic tiles that were widely used in Cyprus in those days were maintained and restored. As the same material is found in all the ground columns, the visual and conceptual link with a foregone modernity is enhanced.
The ground floor interior space was turned into an open space area and modern facilities were added. All of the large display windows were replaced in order to support the new function of the space. The diffusion of daylight into the space permits it to act as the main factor of transformation of a neutral interior. The original steel frame of the windows was kept in place where possible and painted in a dark blue shade.
The residential first floor required excessive restoration. All alien structural interventions were removed as were any later additions that were deforming the original exterior view of the building. Elements such as the glass room on the terrace and the skilfully designed metal rail were brought out. To add to the overall preservation concept, the walls and wooden roof base were painted white. The wooden exterior parts of the windows were painted in a light grey shade in contrast to their interior parts for which a dark blue shade was selected. Since the existing interior plan served as office space, a complete interior redesign was necessary. Though the addition of interior walls and the creation of new openings the space became more functional and suitable for residential use.
The unrestricted view from the inside was the main purpose of our proposed layout. Given the building’s location, it was essential for the tenant to be able to enjoy the area’s rich cultural setting.
Taking advantage of the symmetrical window glass element (another local urban architecture element of the time) located at the entrance where the staircase is found, a colorful lighting effect was created that intensely reaches the living room. Depending on the time of day, the interior is filled with a bright yellow/orange light, which vividly transforms the restored architectural elements.
A light blue shade of paint was used on the floor, unifying all the common spaces and standing out as a contemporary addition to a 1950s construction.