Slovenian practice Arhitektura d.o.o has designed a low concrete house in the suburbs of Ljubljana around a central courtyard that connects a series of living spaces with the owner’s ceramics studio.
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Called House for a Ceramic Designer, the home faces its surroundings with an austere and smooth concrete finish, but opens up internally with full-height glazing overlooking a paved patio and small garden.
“The atrium was designed to unite the family’s living quarters and the working studio of its owner under one roof,” explained Arhitektura d.o.o.
“[The house] is closed from its visually busy immediate surroundings, which will undergo unpredictable development in the future, while at the same time providing a well-lit and fully connected living and working space.”
The U-shaped plan of the home is organised into three areas: the ceramic studio to the north, a large living space in the centre and a bedroom block to the south.
In addition to its solid concrete walls, the home is further shielded from overlooking by a low concrete wall that wraps around the site boundary, enclosing a thin strip of grass that runs alongside the central courtyard.
“The inner spaces of the house open via large panoramic windows onto the central atrium, which is designed as the in-between space,” described the studio.
“It allows passage to different parts of the house and direct communication between the workshop and the living quarters, the glass delineating the interior from the outside as a thin invisible membrane.”
A cut in the northeastern corner of the home, sheltered by a projecting section of the roof and lined in contrasting wooden panelling, provides a parking space and a separate entrance directly into the ceramic studio.
The interiors mirror the visual simplicity of the exterior, with white walls and pale wooden floors and fittings.
In the studio, a steel shelving unit creates an exhibition-like display of ceramic works visible from the courtyard and bedrooms beyond.
“The building and its interior are dominated by a neutral colour palette,” said the studio.
“The tectonic exterior with its silky-smooth concrete facade and light terazzo floors gives the impression of a sculptural pieces, whereas the warm and intimate feeling of the wood-clad projecting roof hints at a different atmosphere inside.”
When the owners wish to separate home from work, a series of white curtains can be drawn to provide spaces with privacy from the courtyard, and the sliding door to the ceramic studio shut to isolate it from the living room.
Other projects by Arhitektura d.o.o include the refurbishment of a tower-block apartment by Modernist architect Edvard Ravnikar, and a minimalist footbridge across the Ljubljanica River in Slovenia’s capital.
Architecture studio Anna and Eugeni Bach has converted a 19th-century chocolate factory in the Spanish town of La Bisbal into a family home and studio apartment.
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Called Dirk and the Chocolate Factory after its owner, the architects preserved many interior details.
Located in the town’s centre, a series of minimal modifications to the small brick and stone-clad warehouse created living spaces.
These open onto reimagined external areas for the home.
Each floor of the three-storey structure already featured a different construction technique, so Anna and Eugeni Bach sought to showcase these distinctive elements with their alterations.
On the ground floor, metal beams support a series of brick Catalan vaults.
These vaults run above a large living, kitchen and dining space.
This area opens onto a new patio area with a pool through a run of tall, thin doors.
White counter tops, storage and new fittings such as sockets have been installed directly against the exposed stone walls.
Above, the metal structure supports a wooden framework ceiling.
This upper level of more compartmentalised bedrooms is divided by white partition walls.
Walls stop short of this roof structure to create clerestory-style areas of glazing.
Above in the independent studio apartment, large wooden logs support a thin brick slab finished with a ceramic tile roof.
A large living, dining and kitchen space at this level mirrors the ground floor layout.
In the northern corner sits a double bedroom.
Each level is connected by the existing staircase of the warehouse, with an additional staircase added at the opposite end of the building.
“[The new staircase] allows multiple and flexible uses of both common spaces and rooms,” said the practice.
“In this way, the owner’s different members of the family can enjoy a part of the house with a good level of privacy and autonomy.”
On the northern edge of the patio, a lower block houses an additional kitchen space that opens onto an external dining area alongside the pool.
Topped by a new steel-framed roof structure, a suspended concrete staircase leads up to a new roof terrace atop this single-storey element.
This terrace is shaded by a series of angular bamboo canopies that give the roof a distinctive silhouette.
Contrasting the rough, earthy tones of the existing structure, pale green has been used to accent doors, window frames and this new steelwork.