Reconstruction and extension of a 19th century palace

The Sabljić/Kugli Palace located in the Upper Town in Zagreb mostly dates from 1862. The building consists of a ground level commercial section on Visoka ulica and a representative historical one-storey building oriented towards the forest hillside of Tuškanac. With the main building, two ground-level auxiliary buildings form a U-shaped layout with a square indoor atrium that functions as the communication core used to access all three buildings surrounding it.

The basic idea behind the project was to turn a squalid area in the Upper Town into a residential place. An additional burden weighing on the task was the fact that this was an individual protected cultural property. Our intent to connect the space horizontally and vertically in the historical construction also proved to be a demanding challenge.

In addition to the residential section, the backbone of the project were three gathering points – a reshaped central atrium with a glass passageway interpreted in a modern way, a vertical two-storey gap that connects the two residential complex units and represents a type of an “indoor atrium“ and a cascading garden that blends into the forest. The indoor atrium area features daylight that penetrates a large glass panel on the roof. This spatial triangle is additionally aesthetically elaborated by carefully selected artworks of the Gorgona circle. A completely squalid basement was also activated in the project representing the oldest part of the house – a tower from the Upper Town's fortification system.

In the reconstructed house, the interiors of modern design are in a strong and constructive dialogue with the original historical forms. The experience of walking through the space reveals layers of everything historical and contemporary, external and internal, social and intimate. The humble one-storey house on Visoka ulica does not indicate the strength and diversity of spatial sensations that intensify as you walk through the house and that culminate once they touch the high treetops of the Tuškanac forest.

In 2012 the house was nominated for the Bernardo Bernardi award for the most successful achievement in the area of design and interior design.

Project name
Reconstruction of 19th century palace Sabljić / Kugli
Plot area
4 100 m2
Gross area
930 m2
2010 - 2012
Maja Tedeschi