UPHouse is the tail of a simple operation: the introduction of a space of intimate scale into another space, which, being domestic, is exposed and social. The project indeed adds 50% more area to the apartment by installing a light steel structure and a staircase that allows access to the new upper floor.
The new upper floor divides the apartment into two spaces, a private and a public function. The choice of materials for these two spaces reflects this duality. On one hand, in the private vaulted area the walls and doors are covered with recycled plywood (from old electronic equipment containers). On the other hand, white walls reflect light from the patio to fill the kitchen, living room and recreational space with light. The use of materials is minimized, avoiding unnecessary finishes.
The public area of the apartment, which includes the kitchen, has an open floor plan. This flexible space opens to a small east-oriented patio that gets morning light. As many ground-level apartments, the lack of light is one of the keystones of the proposal. In order to maximise natural light in the new upper level, a mirror-faced wood vault is built in the private side. Natural light is reflected and multiplied with a great visual effect.
Up House by CumuloLimbo Studio
The public area of the apartment, which includes the kitchen, has an open floor plan. The floor is a simple concrete solution used in garages which, combined with brass profiles to prevent cracks, unifies the whole floor of the apartment.
The kitchen tiling was selected as it was the least expensive on the market, and a graphic arrangement of the tiles creates an interesting focal point.
The main stair to the mezzanine level is accessed by set of steps that can be moved out of the way when not in use.
Natural light floods the studio through a large window and is reflected into the mezzanine level via the mirrored "vault."
The mirrored "vault" not only reflects natural light into the interior, but also conceals an air conditioning unit, which needed a ventilated space to properly work. The lower part of the vault can be opened like a trapdoor for access.
The renovation was completed on a tight budget, made possible by the use of low-cost and recycled materials throughout the interior. The steel structure supporting the mezzanine is left exposed, creating a graphic feature.
The new mezzanine is supported by six exposed steel frames that stabilize and distribute the weight. This approach negated the need for structural columns in the open floor space.
The bathroom is the only fully enclosed room in the apartment, and it sits below the new mezzanine level. Geometric tiles have been used to create a playful backsplash against the raw brick wall behind the sink.
Three anchoring points secure the wide span of the edge beam running along the front of the mezzanine to the ceiling, allowing the sides to be left open.
The most intimate and restricted area of the apartment is the bedroom on the new mezzanine floor. Over 100 recycled plywood lids were used as cladding in the downstairs studio—the wall of which continues into the bedroom—and for the bedroom floor.