The Family House is part of a new development in the village of Čunovo, so JRKVC added the triple-glazed wall to the north side to focus views on an adjacent field, and away from neighbouring dwellings. The north-facing wall also avoids the harsh direct sunlight and heat that would come from south-facing glazing.
"It seems strange to design a glazed wall on the north side, but it works here because it's in the warmest part of Slovakia, with lots of sunny days," architect Peter Jurkovič told Dezeen.
Two west-orientated rooflights and smaller windows on the other facades ensure the house also receives direct sunlight, to add warmth to the interior. "This was important – if light only came from the north, the interior would look too cold," said Jurkovič.
The 85-square-metre home was built for a single mother, and is also used by her daughter and her daughter's boyfriend.
To keep costs down, JRKVC created a simple design that could be easily constructed by two builders, with a third helping out. Necessary drawings were done, but detailed design was finalised on-site.
"This was a unique project, because we knew it needed a simple construction before we designed it," said Jurkovič. "We saved money by not doing detailed design drawings. We did the main design drawings, and the necessary drawings for planning, but the rest done by visiting the site, talking with the builders, drawing by hand."
The timber-framed house uses structural insulated panels for the external walls, which allowed for quicker and more affordable construction. The glazed wall was broken up into smaller panels so that it could be assembled by the builders without specialist skills or equipment.
The simple form and layout of the house takes inspiration from typical Slovakian rural houses, with a pitched roof and a porch – called a gánok – on the side.
Inside, a multipurpose plywood "service box" has been placed in the centre. It houses the bathroom, toilet, stairs, storage and kitchen on the ground floor, and a study at the top of the stairs on the first floor.
Rooms have been arranged around this central core, with a double-height living space on the ground floor and the main bedroom at the other end. A second bedroom for guests has been placed upstairs.
Concrete flooring helps to keep the house warm by naturally soaking up heat during the day, and releasing it when temperatures drop later. It also features simple electric underfloor heating.
Photography is by Peter Jurkovič.
Here is some more text from JRKVC:
Family House, Čunovo, Slovakia
The client's brief was simple: I want to live in a small house on a small plot at a reasonable price. Budget was fixed at €75,000. I am still remembering last summer on the countryside. Could we recycle the typology, morphology, even decor of Slovakian rural architecture?
There are certain principles encoded in traditional folk architecture, especially in the context of the need to reduce our ecological footprint and energy waste. Bigger is not always better! Simple buildings didn't fight with nature but became part of it. They were built of local materials that were readily available and did not need a long and difficult transport – wood, clay and straw to name a few. The windows did not perform as well as today, so they were kept rather small. An under–roof porch, called a gánok, was a traditional part of the house, ensuring the contact with outside environment even in winter or during bad weather.
During the design process we looked back to these principles. We proposed a fusion of old and contemporary architecture. The house has a small footprint, tiny picturesque windows and a porch. The ground floor is organised by a traditional three–room scheme. There is a central 'service box' made of plywood, which has a bathroom, toilet, stairs, storage and the kitchen integrated inside.
The remaining negative space – around and above the box – is for the rooms: the living room, main bedroom on the ground floor and another bedroom in the attic. The modest floor area of the living room is compensated by a huge curtain wall heading north, extending the interior area into the garden. Thanks to the orientation, there is no sun shading system needed. The room and the study area on top of the wooden box are filled with a soft northern light.
The house is constructed with structural insulated panels (SIP) made of OSB panels sandwiched around a foam core made of polystyrene. A massive concrete floor is used for heating and storing thermal energy. To keep the price down, there are no sophisticated systems integrated in the house.
Area: 85 square metres
Architects: Peter Jurkovič, Lukáš Kordík, Števo Polakovič, JRKVC