ORA transformed a 16th-century home in the former Jewish quarter of Mikulov, Czech Republic into Štajnhaus, a beautiful bespoke guesthouse and residence. Built in the Czech Renaissance period, the old house has been damaged, rebuilt, and transformed numerous times over hundreds of years. The architects carefully peeled back those layers in the palimpsest-like home to uncover unexpected architectural elements.
In upgrading the old home, the architects also worked to preserve many of the original details such as old plasterwork and stone steps. In hopes of preserving these historic features—many of which continued to unexpectedly turn up in the process—the architects let these discoveries inform the renovation to keep the building as organic as possible. The old and new features are meant to blend together, giving every room a unique character.
Materials, such as timber beams and bricks, salvaged on-site were reused as tiles and furniture. The vaulted brick wine cellars beneath the home were also brought back to life. The aboveground walls were painted white to reflect light and give the building an airy, spacious feel.
“We came to a ‘pudding stone’. The more individual layers, spaces and surprising circumstances we uncovered, the more revisions and alterations our project we had to make in our project; and this lasted, in fact, until the end of realisation,” wrote the architects. “In the beginning we did not have a clue where we would come to in the end. We were looking for a limit what time we could come back to and for a point when we should rather go on a new journey. But we still wanted to preserve the house as an organic unit. You will not find a straight wall or a rectangular opening in the house, so we had to reinvent and remake to measure all the elements, which the investor was compliant with.”
Images by Jakub Skokan, Martin Tůma / BoysPlayNice