Rebuilding a 1970s Home How he turned an old Polish cube into a dream home.  Pictures before and after the update

It was a dilapidated cube from the 1970s, unoccupied for several years, without thermal insulation, and with a leaking roof. However, location was crucial for the investor. At the architect’s suggestion, the building was reconstructed and underwent a comprehensive thermal modernization. See the effect of reconstruction!


  1. Rebuilding a house from the 1970s – what did it look like?
  2. Gallery – See photos of the house before and after the renovation
  3. Interior transformation thanks to the demolition of walls
  4. Panoramic windows – a hit!
  5. Modern house made of old cubes – thermal retrofit
  6. What kind of heating in a reconstructed house?

Rebuilding a house from the 1970s – what did it look like?

Mr. Tomasz from Rybnik was looking for a suitable house for renovation. Even before the purchase, he indicated the chosen building to Marcin Jurkiewicz from the JURIK Architekci office, because the house had been unoccupied for about 5 years and no one had repaired the leaks in the old roofing felt. In winter, the water freezes, which increases the damage. The falling water left marks on the walls and wooden floor on the first floor.

The house was a typical Polish cube from the 1970s, with a compact shape, a high ground floor and a flat roof, not much different from most of the surrounding buildings. On the street side, it has two floors, with a loggia on both levels. On the plot side, it is a one-storey building with a roof terrace and a garage on the ground floor. The walls are covered with lamb plaster without thermal insulation. For investors, location was key, but they also took into account the technical condition of the building.

Before deciding to purchase the property, the architect checked the stability of the load-bearing walls. It turns out that it was violated. He also stated that if the ceilings were made of wood instead of reinforced concrete, the deal would be in doubt. In general, the structure of the house was in good condition, and the architect found no signs of cracks in the walls, deviations in the roof or major damage. The worst thing was the leaky roof.

Gallery – See photos of the house before and after the renovation

At the beginning of the investment, the foundations were excavated in batches and secured by rebuilding the vertical damp insulation. Meanwhile, the basement walls were insulated with an 18cm thick layer of polystyrene. The next step was to renovate the roof, allowing the building to gradually dry out.

In parallel with the arrangement of the plot, the first renovation works were carried out inside the building. Unnecessary partition walls were demolished, new steel sills were made, and then the necessary holes were drilled in the structural walls. Two of them allowed to expand the living room. The living area has been enlarged at the expense of the adjacent balcony, doubling its area from 14 m2 to almost 30 m2.

The balcony on the first floor has been built over. The architects connected the resulting space to the bathroom, creating space for a shower cabin. Old screeds were removed and the water and electrical installations were completely replaced. The plastering on almost the entire house was in good condition, so it wasn’t chipped, it was refurbished. After completing the work, the interior decoration was done according to the design of the interior designer, Ola Bounk.

Removal of partition walls resulted in spacious and bright interiors. The interior stair railing is also made of glass and allows light to pass through it. The house uses light colors, which makes the house look more spacious.

Panoramic windows – a hit!

The most important role during the renovation process to achieve the desired effect in the interior was to replace the windows. A serious intervention in the building structure was to replace two standard windows with large ones (2.6 x 4 m) connecting the two floors. Thanks to this, the stairs are better lit. The glazing area in the living room was also enlarged – the jambs around the windows were removed and an additional opening was made. A large non-opening window without partitions with an area of ​​2.6 x 2.3 m is introduced here. An additional benefit of installing the so-called pinning is the lower cost of glazing (hinged windows are more expensive).

Investors chose windows designed for energy-efficient buildings, with a heat transfer coefficient Uw = 0.8-0.9 W/(m²·K). The joinery is made of dark gray PVC matching the graphite plaster. For investors, the main issue was operating the windows without maintenance, so they did not take wood carpentry into consideration. Some windows are equipped with laminated blinds.

Modern house made of old cubes – thermal retrofit

Renovation work has increased the humidity level in the building. Therefore, the insulation of the external breakers was left until the end so that the steam could escape in the meantime. External walls The ground floor and first floor were covered with polystyrene.

Traditional 20cm thick white Styrofoam was used to insulate the building Styrofoam graphite 15 cm thickness, with better insulation (0.032 = W/m)..K)). In this way, designers gained the ability to plastically shape the surface while ensuring the same heat transfer coefficient value over the entire interface.

The roof has also been thermally updated. The insulation was made of polystyrene boards and pegs, thanks to which various layer thicknesses were obtained. It is 30cm thick at its thinnest and 55cm at its thickest. This difference made it possible to obtain a slope of 5 percent. Styrofoam was placed on this base, followed by heat-weldable felt. Convection causes heat to be transferred to the top of the building.

In many projects, most of the heat is lost due to insufficient roof insulation – emphasizes the architect. Investors did not want to provide this important element, so a thick layer of insulation was used. In order to reduce heat loss, care was also taken to protect the flooring on the ground floor in the basement. It is insulated with extruded polystyrene sheets. The rooms on the lower floor were slightly below the standard height (208 cm). The designers did not want to reduce it significantly (the limit was 200 cm), hence a material with very good insulation (0.032 = 0.032 W/(m·K) was chosen, which could be applied in a layer of small thickness (2 cm) over the existing covered substrate In the new one Water leak. So the change is as minimal as possible.

At the end of the work on the facade, the ground floor, window frames and the area of ​​the former portico, set back from the rest of the walls, were painted in two colors of plaster – white and gray to obtain depth.

We will cheat a little by drawing dark fields on a flat interface. Only when recesses appear can we achieve an architectural effect – says Marcin Jurkiewicz.

What kind of heating in a reconstructed house?

The old house was heated by a coal boiler. During the modernization, the old heat source was replaced with a low-temperature gas boiler. The decision to install underfloor heating requires checking the load-bearing capacity of the ceilings. They had to raise the layer of screed and the compound filled with water.

The old foundation has been removed. To minimize additional weight, an anhydrite screed was used. It is installed without shrinkage and does not require reinforcement. It is also relatively light (the adhesive is gypsum, not cement). Due to its strength parameters, it can be laid in a thinner layer than cement mixtures. The thickness of the screed over the pipes may be 3.5 cm (in the case of cement screed, the minimum thickness is 4.5 cm). Most importantly, it adheres well to heating cables (if air voids are created, the efficiency of the system will decrease).

This material is not suitable for use in wet rooms, but this was not a problem in this case. It turns out that the main disadvantage of this solution is the cost – almost twice as much as in the case of conventional heating.

Source: Murator website archive, Renewal of the Year Competition

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