A small home in Slovakia based on rural folk houses | JRKVC
The owner of this village house in Slovakia had a dream that many of us share: “I want to live in a small house on a small plot at a reasonable price.” Of course reasonable price is subjective based on personal circumstances, but in this case the available budget was €75,000. Architecture studio JRKVC helped make her dream a reality, looking to rural Slovakian folk houses for time-tested ideas that could be applied to a new affordable house.
Those traditional country houses tended to be small and simple structures with a covered porch. They were built from readily available materials and the windows were kept small to reduce heat loss in winter.
JRKVC incorporated those concepts with one major twist. While the windows facing the neighboring houses were kept small for privacy, the back gable was completely glazed, offering a view of a farmer’s field and filling the home with diffuse northern light. Because the glazed wall does face north, it was made with triple-paned insulating glass.
A service core at the center of the house divides the lower floor into the double-height living/dining/kitchen area at the back and a bedroom in the front. The service core itself contains a powder room, bathroom, stairs, storage space and the kitchen counter. Upstairs is a second bedroom plus an open study overlooking the living space. The bathroom arrangement is interesting. Each bedroom has its own sink and bathtub or shower, but they share the single powder room downstairs.
To reduce the design cost, the architects didn’t produce detailed design drawings; instead they worked out the details with the builders during construction. The walls were constructed using structural insulated panels, which add to the material cost but reduce labor costs because they go up very quickly and incorporate insulation already, saving a step in the building process. Roof overhangs can be time-consuming to finish, so eliminating them cut the labor costs as well as reduced the amount of roofing material needed.
Inexpensive drywall and plywood were used to finish the interior, and the concrete foundation slab was used as the finish floor downstairs. Further costs were saved by eliminating a complex mechanical heating system in favor of just using electric heating embedded in the concrete floor.
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