Backbone Village Houses by OFIS Arhitekti


Slovenian studio OFIS Arhitekti have completed a project to create suburban affordable housing in Podpec, Slovenia,

Called Backbone Village Houses, the buildings are clad in fiber-cement tiles, larch wood strips and coloured plaster.

Each house has a long balcony on the first floor, enclosed by a wooden frame.

The village is made up of affordable three-bedroom houses that are targeted towards young families.

Photographs are by Tomaz Gregoric.

Here is some more information from OFIS:


The town of Ljubljana is surrounded by numerous dense rural formations of different scales. Together by branching with main urban core they form a city.

As the city is expanding from the inside out, the urban and rural formations are slowly dissolving together. With uncontrolled urban growth the historical rural typologies are slowly loosing their patterns, character and qualities.

Village Podpec is becoming one of these typical suburban area. Although surrounded by wider green area with fields and wild nature, local resorts have no qualities in new built environment.

Sewing a village tissue

The project is part of an urban study for suburban areas outside Ljubljana highway ring.
 The Main proposed idea was the condensation of village cores with branching – traditional historical rural layout of condensed longitudinal buildings along the road with kept green area around. Internal roads act as spinal cord, eight plots with longitudinal houses are branching like ribs.

Sustainable-economical issues

These kinds of plots with houses are targeted towards young families that can not afford to live in the centre and want their own garden space, dissolving into the green surrounding. On the other hand they bring back new vitality into village tissue.

3 bedroom houses with attached gardens and three external parking spaces were designed at 140-160.000 EUR each, an affordable price for young couples with a reasonable bank loan.

Therefore basic concept had to be based on economical, rational and flexible issues. Each house has 2 floors, 55sqm each.

Each unit was built unto the fitting finished floors and sanitary elements in bathrooms.
 Ground-floor consists of a central living area and kitchen with storage.

The living area has the possibility of an additional room such as guest-bedroom or working space. The Living area opens to the elevated veranda and small inner garden.

Click for larger image.

The first floor functions as a sleeping area, providing 3 bedrooms with 2 bathrooms and wardrobes.
 There is a long terrace with a pergola along the bedrooms.

Click for larger image.

Designed pitched roof allows space for a gallery or storage. 
Materials are larch wood, plaster and glass.

Click for larger image.

Location: Podpec, Slovenia
Type: one family housing
Client: Private
House: 110sqm (55 sqm / floor)
Plot size: 420m2
Parking and entrance: 80m2
Garden: 165m2
Terrace: 40m2
Structure: reinforced concrete, brick fillings
Roof structure: Wooden
Max. Height: 8.30 m

Click for larger image.

Project team:
Rok Oman, Spela Videcnik, 
Andrej Gregoric, 
Javier Carrera,
 Janez Martincic,
 Katja Aljaz

Posted on Monday February 1st 2010 at 8:50 pm by Chris Barnes. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • epitesz

    I would like to purchase some of these units, nice and functional plans..
    thx for the post

  • OnHabitat

    OFIS opened new traditional-regionalism-wave architecture. Compliments

  • Thornsen

    Presented project openes very interesting topic. Very suitable for wild landscape around the cities. I like condensed layout of the site plot in “Village” manner.
    Also presented material and plans.

  • NICO

    the generous space allotted for the outdoor balcony is great. really an effective way to open up the otherwise snug dimensions of the bedrooms. livable and aesthetically pleasing. thanks for the post.

  • wim m

    good Office!

  • luminosa

    Ethical and esthetical. Well done

  • wim m – very good Office!

  • luminosa

    :) OK, I Agree … this sentence was meant just as poetic rime OFIS-office

  • Tom

    Think the homes look great! Especially neat considering they are affordable housing.

    Only issue is, I’m not totally convinced of the layout & landscape design – do villages not have some kind of shared/ public space other than a pavement? Should the houses not have windows onto the street, some kind of shared/ social relationship to the street other than parking?

    The landscaping to the front looks quite car dominated with so many hard surfaces (presumably parking spaces) and a lack of planting. Its a pity, with more considerate landscape design and a few more windows it would look a lot more like a village with the houses settled into the landscape, reinforcing the relationship between the buildings and the street as something other than the typical suburban typology.

  • Wentz

    Low cost — good result

  • dalstonrosi

    That it’s sustainable should nowadays be a given. Simple and well designed housing. Really liking it …

  • that he is loving this work.

  • Bramante

    I like enclosed implementation, has a feeling of village enclaves.
    Also houses design is very original and eye catching.

  • Mies

    Simply efficient formula for suburbian areas

  • Why is affordable seemingly synonymous with lacking windows?

  • Andreas

    Very good low cost project. I also love farewell chapel

  • PAT

    Great work and great project opus. Just checked OFIS website. Also very good taste according to the LINKS tab on their site.

  • Andy

    THX Pat, Agree fully

  • Vladimir

    Dobro opravljeno Slovenci! Great mixture of old rural architecture and new visual excellence. Very interesting project, I like the idea itself and the approach, the research.

  • EON

    Really smart move. And interesting interview on Archdaily, good post

  • Saso

    I have few comment on project, since I live in Ljubljana. I was impressed with arhitecure too when I first saw the advertisment, but change my opinoion very quickly. This are definitely not definetly affordable houses, on contrary they are so expensive, that only 2 have been sold in a year. If you look at the pictures carfully you will see how close to each other houses are built. This is not normal in Slovenia, sice there is planty of space to build, but result of investors greed. They've built 8 houses, where there was plan for 4. In conclusion great architecture – bad investor.