Latvian architects NRJA constructed this beautiful renovation of an old stone barn in Saka, Latvia. Rather than tear down the stone ruins of the barn, the family wanted to use the exterior wall of the barn as a protective barrier surrounding their new home, both for privacy as well as protection from the wind blowing in off the Baltic Sea. The family also wanted to be able to spend calm days viewing the water and their surrounding meadow from their rooftop deck. Their fabulous old exterior with a new modern interior creates a warm home and a deck with a view.

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NRJA has won many prizes for the House of Ruins since it was built in 2002 – the Gran Prix for the Latvian Architecture Prize in 2005, the Best Technology Award at the Interior Digest Magazine in 2006, and it was nominated for the Mies van der Rohe Award in 2007. The home won the Best Technology Award due to NRJA’s implementation of contemporary construction, constructive and electronic technologies – which means it’s really efficient. With the use of solar passive thermal walls, extensive use of natural lighting, and efficient appliances and lighting, this house is an inspiring example of good green design.

The House of Ruins is about 2,150 square feet, built inside a 19th century traditional Latvian stone barn. The contrast between the old and the new is quite striking. The exterior is shored up in places where it had collapsed with new modern concrete walls. Meanwhile, the home is contained within the confines of the ruin, providing a wind break and privacy wall. The inner courtyard provides a safe haven and a beautiful garden viewable through huge glass windows from the interior living space. Renovations like this one and like the dairy barn we saw recently make use of good structural materials, and update them with a new modern interior.

NRJA is a relatively new firm, started in 2005 by Uldis Luksevic. They are based out of Riga, Latvia and the team has an average age of 25. This talented bunch believes in going beyond the rules and exploring the limits of traditional architecture. Their name sums up this outside-the-box attitude: ‘No Rules, Just Architecture.’ They have some really impressive and cool designs out there – check out their video of all their projects. We swear it will get you so pumped up and excited about buildings and architecture that you’ll be inspired on the spot to design something.


Via Arch Daily