When Znojmo-based architecture studio ORA was tapped to reconstruct a fascinating old ruin into a new home in the Czech town of Jevíčko, the young architects quickly decided against a traditional repair. Originally built as a homestead that was converted into a granary during the communist regime, the existing brick building had suffered significant damage. But it still retained a strong architectural character that ORA believed would be lost if a traditional renovation was attempted. Instead, the architects elegantly inserted a contemporary, energy-efficient home inside the ruins to pay homage to the historic architecture while providing all the conveniences and comforts of modern living.

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gabled brick home on a hill

Constructed over the course of two years, the House Inside a Ruin project began with the teardown of the inner partition walls and floors to return the building to its original layout of two floors rather than three. Structurally sound wooden beams salvaged from the ruins were repurposed into ceiling beams and truss elements. The architects then built a new, insulated house into the existing ruins and kept a ventilated gap between the new and original structure so that the buildings do not touch.

Related: Old ruins are transformed into a cozy, off-grid guesthouse in France

aerial view of double-height living and dining room with modern furniture
gray sectional sofa facing wood-burning fireplace

The well-insulated home is centered on a double-height, open-plan living space, kitchen and dining room with an en suite bedroom on the ground floor. Stairs lead to the upper floor, where four additional bedrooms are located. Large windows frame views of the open landscape through the massive old walls of the original brick building.

kitchen and dining area with large round wood table under pendant lights
freestanding bathtub and vessel sink on wood counter

“The project is our manifesto of how it is possible to treat old houses,” the architects explained. “It is not necessary to lose the authenticity of old age. It is not necessary to demolish, neither to reconstruct dogmatically. At the same time, even in such a case, it is possible to build economically using modern materials and achieve the required parameters.”


Photography by BoysPlayNice via ORA

old brick home on a hill at night