by Jerry ElengicalAug 31, 2022
The Family House at Rašovka is located in the Czech region of Liberec, north-east of the capital city of Prague. On the southern slope of the Ještěd ridge, the house sits at an altitude of 600m above sea level and affords views of the Bohemian Paradise - a protected landscape area and Czech Republic’s first nature reserve. Designed by Adam Jirkal and Tomáš Kubák of Atelier SAD and interior designer Iveta Zachariášová of Iveta Zachariášová Interior Design, the house is built on one of the last available building plots in Rašovka at the time.
On a plot of 1685 sqm, the private residence occupies a mere 158 sqm of built-up area with a floor plan of approximately 22.5 x 7m. The near rectangular footprint of the structure is oriented along the contour line such that its restricted mass cuts diagonally into the steep slope of the street. On the south, open unfenced meadows with flowering plants dominate the landscape. The concept for the design, in fact, revolves around access to the landscape, both physical as well as visual.
The site is approached from the street on the north through an embankment that connects to the parking space of the low-lying house. The ground floor is 4.5m below this approach level and contains the main living areas. From the west, an outdoor staircase along a stone wall leads to the ground floor from the street level. Additionally, an entrance from the parking lot leads directly to the bedroom on the first floor - the second storey of the two-storeyed house.
On the ground floor, the outdoor staircase leads to the entrance of the house, through a double-loaded corridor, with an anteroom, toilet, utility room and wardrobe on the north, while a master bedroom, bathroom, and two smaller bedrooms face the south. The hallway culminates in the living room, approached from under an internal staircase that leads to the floor above.
The living space accommodates an open kitchen, a dining area and an informal seating area, all of which are oriented towards the valley beyond the glazed wall on the south. A semi-outdoor patio extends from the diagonal east wall of the living space - also completely glazed - and connects it to the garden beyond. The presence of floor height apertures throughout the south wall ensures a visual connection with the landscape outside, for all the spaces on the ground floor. The east and south walls form a contiguous façade, left unobstructed due to the absence of a corner column.
An island kitchen counter separates the kitchen from the south-facing dining area, while the living area occupies the northern end of the double-height space on the ground floor. A cast-iron French swivel fireplace, suspended from the rafters of the ceiling coalesces the different functions of this volume.
The design of the staircase, located above the entrance of the living room, has the appearance of a staggered cast iron profile, to compensate for the lack of space for a standard staircase. Divided into two rows of separate staircases, the treads are halved in width while the risers are doubled in height. Used together, their staggered form appropriates the staircase to a standard-sized entity.
The floor above opens to a gallery that leads to the bedroom adjoining the parking space. The pitched roof above gives this space an attic-like appearance, with clerestory windows puncturing the slope of the roof.
Two distinct roofs make up the elevation of the building, a flat roof that accommodates the parking space and a pitched roof with varying degrees- above the double height living room as well as the bedroom and gallery above. Ranging from an angle of 43 to 30 degrees, the dissimilar height of the pitched roof owes its design to the function it accommodates. It is therefore highest above the bedroom on the first floor, while the end towards the living area dips on the east, seemingly sloping down to meet the garden below. Externally the roof is made of folded anthracite-coloured aluminium sheets while internally the ceiling soffit is lined with bleached birch plywood.
The façade design is an exploration in Portuguese expanded cork and lends the house a natural palette that enables it to merge with the landscape it sits on. Alternate strips of varying thicknesses of cork are clad along the entirety of the façade, offsetting the linearity of the otherwise horizontal building. A combination of plastered brick partition walls with a fair-face reinforced concrete perimeter wall and ceiling contribute to the industrial disposition of the building design.
The Family House at Rašovka exemplifies the residential design on a sloping terrain. It can be read as the manifestation of a functionalist concept that is composed of an iron framework and free facades with an aim to have uninterrupted access to the exterior. A simplified volume, built using industrial building materials, organises itself across multiple storeys accessed from the top, around the sloping terrain such that a holistic association with the landscape is maintained throughout the house.
Name: Family House
Location: Rašovka, Prague, Czech Republic
Architecture: Atelier SAD
Interior Design: Iveta Zachariášová Interior Design
Site Area: 1685m2
Built up Area: 158m2