Manea Kella transforms dilapidated house into boutique hotel

Romania: London-based architecture studio, Manea Kella, has converted a house on the verge of collapse in Brăila, Romania, into an 11-room boutique property.

The new hotel, Casa Popeea, features art-nouveau details combined with contemporary finishes.

“The restoration and repair of the existing was driven by the idea that the original structure should be emphasised in its spatial context and original materiality,” said architects Adrian Manea and Elena Kella.

Originally built in 1900 by a Greek merchant, part of the building was damaged in 1923 following a fire.

After the second world war, the property was confiscated by the communist government. When the regime collapsed in the late 1980s, the house was abandoned and has been derelict for the past 30 years.

“The building had severe structural problems with a high risk of collapse,” explained Manea. “Given the region’s seismicity, the danger was imminent. Additionally, due to the building changing use and ownership over many years, such of the internal features were either gutted or damaged beyond repair”.

The layout of the building was altered from the original floor plans to allow for its change of use, whereby walls were opened up to create more flow between rooms.

Highlights now include the grand oak staircase, which was temporarily dismantled and sent to a carpentry workshop in Transylvania to be restored.

Other amenities in the hotel include a brasserie restaurant, coffee shop, and spa.

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