While exploring the charming streets of Valletta, surrounded by the vibrant cityscape of Malta, you may stumble upon Casa Bottega, a remarkable studio residence designed by architect Chris Briffa. This architectural gem beautifully combines traditional elements with a touch of modernity, perfectly aligning with the evolving lifestyle demands.
The project showcases a fascinating blend of styles, seamlessly integrating the original structure, which housed the offices of Chris Briffa Architects, with the addition of a contemporary Penthouse on the rooftop, symbolizing a clear distinction between work and personal life.
“As an architect, creating your own home is a true labor of love. It involves a multitude of emotions and processes, from obsessing over every detail to constantly redesigning and evaluating different solutions,” Chris Briffa tells urdesign. “It’s a journey that encompasses everything from cost considerations to the realization of your vision.”
“When I purchased the property, I faced a budget constraint. Therefore, the initial phase focused on restoring the building to its original design, except a magnificent skylight in the sala nobile,” he continues.
The ground floor serves as the main reception area and gallery, with its beautiful vaulted entrance. The arched basement, on the other hand, is utilized as a model/prototyping workshop. As the upper levels were constructed, a lift enclosed in a steel and wired glass cage was installed within the courtyard. This not only provides practicality but also frames stunning views as you ascend.
The first floor houses the studio, while the second floor acts as a buffer zone between the office and home. This space caters to both formal and informal needs. The concrete slab in the sala nobile is designed to withstand the energy of a dance party with thirty people in motion. It is a versatile space that serves as an architectural library, a music room, a home theater, a presentation facility, and a place for power naps and late-night conversations. The new extension of the house is supported by two pre-cast concrete beams, which transfer the weight of the penthouse onto the side party walls. This ingenious design frees the house from any additional load.
The master bedroom features a continuous, low window that is tuned to the ambiance, with the morning light reflecting off the oak floors and a ten-meter-long line of cacti, enticing one to gaze outward, whether lying in bed or taking a shower. The penthouse, situated above the bustling street, exudes a sense of expansiveness and liberation.
The folding doors of the living room neatly pack away into a steel unit, blurring the boundary between the interior and exterior spaces. Natural light permeates the entire area from all sides, while foliage and trees frame the panoramic views of the rooftop, encompassing both harbors beyond.
The element of playfulness is exemplified in the “tree house,” a low space positioned above the kitchen, providing proximity for the children. The kitchen serves as the heart of this residence, featuring a stainless-steel workbench that enables the cook to access tools within the cooking-work triangle efficiently.