The villa was built in 1936 according to the design of a noted Czech architect Vladimír Grégr. Built in functionalist style, the villa has significant rustic elements including conical exterior walls, rough dragged work and wooden casing. Vladimír Grégr’s work has been strongly influenced by his stay in the United States and the inspiration from the romantic haciendas of the Californian movie stars.
Based on this experience he started designing aerodynamic functionalist houses, but also a rather romantic shape morphology inspired not only by Neo-Spanish style, but also by Jan Kotěra. We had the opportunity to participate in the renovation of one of these villas nicknamed Indian Ship. It is a carefully composed lengthwise shell placed onto the south-east Barrandov slope, parallel to the Barrandovská Street.
The interior layout is strongly oriented towards the garden, all the residential rooms – the super-elevated living room, dining room and library on the ground floor, and the three bedrooms and bathroom on the first floor, are facing it. On the other hand, the utility rooms and hallways are Northwest oriented, facing the street, which also shows in the stern character of the street façade.
Based on its exterior character, the villa was listed as architectural monument and we tried to save its unique figure, window panes, façade character and architectural details. The house was designed as a reinforced concrete frame walled in with hollow blocks. We performed extensive technical research, measured window and wall heat passage and did thermal photography, and the window thermal transmission coefficient turned out to be surprisingly good.
We approached the renovation based on our findings and with the improvement of interior environment quality on our mind. The modifications consisted of replacing the original roof structure with a modern one, adding 5 cm of thermal insulation to the façade, and a combination of hydro-insulation and other technological arrangements ensuring the usability of the underground premises, something that was previously impossible. At the same time, we executed energy and economic studies. These determined that a gas boiler would be most efficient for heating and water heating.
Heating is provided for by floor heating in combination with tubular radiators contributing to the unique interior character. An air-condition unit was placed into the basement. It should provide permanent ventilation in case of humidity penetrating from the exterior. Cone-shaped exterior walls, rough combed stucco and oak windows were characteristic to the unique exterior design. Unfortunately, the stucco was badly damaged. Despite all our efforts it was unrepairable, and we had to replace it.
Fortunately enough, we were able to find a technical and aesthetic solution that was almost identical to the original, including colour and structure. Before the actual application of the finish, we performed numerous test samplings directly on the façade structure. As was mentioned before, the oak windows of various sizes and shapes are one of the house’s characteristic features. Architect Grégr designed the shapes with regard not only to the interior and its’ views of the landscape, but also to the meticulous composition of the exterior mass.
New windows are an exact copy of the original ones, including their surface finish. The metal fittings were restored and used again. The house interior suffered from the unoriginal silt and “creativity” of its owners from the second half of the 20th century. We strove to remove this alluvium to emphasize the original very simple but very impressive concept. Changes to the original lay-out were minimal with regard to present functional needs.
A super-elevated living room equipped with a hearth and piano space is in the heart of the house. It mirrors to the façade by its high double wing windows. Connected to the living room are a dining area and a former library that now serves as a bedroom. All the living premises are serviced from the hallway adjacent to the northern façade. Therefore the inhabitants would not be disturbed by personnel. Three bedrooms are located on the first floor. A new gentleman bathroom, that was originally not part of the solution, was supplemented.
Very important was the new basement solution. Now it was dehumidified, it is possible to use the underground premises as full-fledged part of the house and thus two dressing rooms, utility and technical rooms and personnel background were established here.The characteristic design of the entire house is underlined by wooden elements, mostly made of dark mordant oak. We managed to preserve the elements referring to the American inspiration, such as the large sliding doors with a rare “ejector” fitting, unique banister, hearth or window frame details. Source by idhea.