On the small island nation of Malta, Chris Briffa Architects has completed a compelling, modern and sustainable single family home. The surrounding neighborhood had been torn down, subdivided, and redeveloped prior to Briffa's involvement in this last compact, empty site. A complex plot, along with a plethora of new design vocabulary turned the green-roofed and energy efficient Hanging Home into a substantial design challenge.
The lot that the Hanging Home resides on is approximately 250 square meters in size and the zoning regulations only allowed for 40% site coverage. With a demanding program for such a small site, the design team decided that literally cantilevering half the house over the outdoor spaces would help to get the home past zoning regulations. Therefore, portions of the dining and living rooms float on a hanging concrete slab over the outdoor pool.
The home appears as if a sleek and modern cube was cut and decorated with traditional Maltese louvered doors. A steel staircase leads to the wood slate and glass entry. Adjacent to the entry is a semi-buried volume, which houses the home office. This space has its own entrance from the street and is designed for natural daylighting and ventilation. This grass-roofed volume also creates a privacy screen for the side outdoor area that includes the pool, a garden, and outdoor dining area.
Chris Briffa Architects designed this home to be warmed by low-energy radiant floor heating during the winter and cooled by natural ventilation during the summer. The double height space above the main staircase also acts as a cooling tower in the summer by drawing heat up from the warmer living spaces through the introduction of cross ventilation. The home stands out not only because of its modern stylings, but also because of its attention to sustainability in a simplistic way.