A compact stone and concrete cottage in Slovenia | Dekleva Gregorič Arhitekti
For our first house of 2015, we visit the Karst Plateau straddling the border of Slovenia and Italy. This stone and concrete cottage updates the vernacular houses found in the region, where plentiful limestone was traditionally used to construct houses and farm buildings.
In designing a contemporary new home for a young family of four, Dekleva Gregorič Arhitekti started with the compact gabled form of those old stone houses. But rather than stacking stones, the walls were instead built by pouring concrete into forms lined with stones. Once the concrete had set up sufficiently, the forms were taken down and excess concrete was removed to reveal the colored stone. The roof is also concrete, cast in a stepped design meant to mimic traditional Karst construction.
The architects defined the home’s internal spaces by inserting two wooden “mini-houses” within the stone volume, one at each end. At the ground level, the two wood structures contain the bathroom and an eat-in kitchen while the space between is used as the living room. Unlike the stone houses from the past with their tiny windows, this one has large openings on three sides, opening the living spaces to scenic views of the countryside and a church on a nearby hill.
The private upper level is reached by an alternating tread staircase that was designed as a stack of wooden storage boxes. The stairs take you up to a bridge-like loft that joins the upper floors of the two mini-houses, each of which contains one of the home’s two compact bedrooms. Skylights in both bedrooms offer views of the night sky. The bridge itself is used as the children’s playroom, which was kept open to the living room below by using rope netting in place of solid railings. The concrete ceilings were given character by the use of rough form boards, the wood grain of which was clearly transferred to the finished ceiling. The cottage has a total 92 m2 (990 ft2) of floor space.
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