Set in a completely idyllic landscape in the Polish countryside, a magnificent single family home was built. Using an external coating of gabions or, in other words, a cluster of field stones were set into a tension wire fence. The architectural firm Kropka studio, designed this beautiful building with sensitivity and bounds of creativity, putting as much emphasis on the planning and implementation, while reflecting a strong integration with the surrounding nature.
The house is located on a plot of land with a slight slope, and is surrounded by a spectacular natural and rural landscape. The area is known as an agricultural area, one which is synonymous with old buildings, which too, are made of field stone. The architects wanted to insert a home into this picturesque environment, by creating a project that would become one with the landscape. Due to the simple massing and use of gabions, which borrows traditional stone building techniques from the region, this project integrates time honoured methods with new technology and design.
The shape of the house is simple and minimalist. Instead of creating a displaced architectural gesture, the designers chose to design their project from the classic volume of a gabled country house or barn. In this photo, you can see the main building, which marks the central point of the family living spaces.
Now, let's focus our attention to the roof materials: a blend of zinc-titanium sheets were used in a folded joint system. This resulted in the graphic lines on the roof surface that you can see. The inclination of the latter, increases durability, as well as acts as the perfect surface for rainwater run off. Meanwhile, the vertical walls, are either gabion field stone, or wood that has been stained in a warm finish. Finally, the generous openings bathe the inside in light, creating a very contemporary feel.
The project aims to be as eco-friendly and cutting-edge as possible, in terms of the technology in insulation and heating installed. Thus, in addition to the simple form of the house, the windows are triple glazed, contributing to optimum thermal insulation levels. Triple glazing is indeed a standard in passive energy homes, offering a very comfortable and warm interior in addition to significantly reduced heating costs.
As mentioned, the design of the façade is unconventional, integrating wire baskets filled with stones called gabions. These are normally used in landscaping to stabilise embankments and fences, but their use in architecture is relatively new. Also, gabions act as an excellent thermal barrier. Not only do they contribute to improving the visual appearance of the house, but also optimise the energy saving façade.
The house consists of two main volumes; a smaller one to shelter two cars, and a larger for all living areas, which are connected by a natural wood pergola. The surface of the roof and the walls are made of wooden planks, which are mounted in a linear structure. This special provision creates an outdoor space protected against the elements via the natural wood pergola and two stone walls. The perfect place to sit on a beautiful summer day to enjoy the landscape!
We now enter the interior of the house, where the shape of the gabled structure that is observed outside, arises. The huge living space, amplified by the generous ceiling heights, has an atmosphere that is both serene, airy and spectacular. The architects have also chosen an open plan concept for organising living spaces. Here, the spacious living room also serves as a dining room and kitchen. The lounge is located on the narrow side, and pushed into the corner to create a warm aura. In addition to the various pieces of furniture, which have been artfully chosen, the space is punctuated by industrial lights that were placed at different heights to create rhythm and interest.
The large living room is defined by a long wooden counter that protrudes from the kitchen. On top of this, minimalist wall cabinetry are a welcomed storage solution for effective meal preparation. The dining table is in contrast to the vastness of space, thanks to its small size, which even still, hosts several chairs in various designs. On the left side of the room, a triangular alcove was added. This area was designed by the architect to provide an intimate and inviting home office.
Generously sized, and with all the functions of a conventional bathroom, we find ourselves in this serene and generously lit space. As you can see, emphasis was placed on the use of natural materials. The square wooden wall of bamboo is used as a decorative element that establishes a wonderful relationship with the outside landscape. In addition, it creates a link with the surface of the sink. The shower is almost invisible, limited by glass walls, while the bath, basin, toilet and bidet, are all designed in curved white ceramic, creating a soft and elegant space.
The staircase serves as a link between the ground and first floor. As a modern sculpture, it falls easily between the lobby and the spacious lounge. Here, different materials were mixed, but stress was still placed on the use of natural finishes.
To conclude, this is one of those incredibly interesting projects that responds wonderfully to its outside surroundings. More and more, we are seeing architecture respect the land it is placed, instead of the other way around. A welcome change indeed.