A classic ambition of every individual is to ensure a quality standard of living, which is often idealized in the form of a single family dwelling. However, the construction of such a building is no longer merely a realization of one’s dreams, but it is also becoming an increasingly prominent issue of ensuring the ethics and wider social acceptability of interventions in the space.
Contemporary architecture can not only pursue a formal and aesthetic concept. It is committed to broader social issues. Being ethical to the client – an individual – is transitioning towards being ethical to the society and thereby establishing the idea of a return to nature. The latter is not the naïve imitation of an idealized past, but demands a redefinition of the balance between the modern society and its attitude towards the natural space. Modern technologies offer an instant answer, but they potentiate the idea of a “house – machine” on the one hand, while on the other hand, they give a false impression that it is possible to build anywhere due to reducing the impact on the environment. The single family dwelling designed by Taste demonstrates an appropriate form of cohesion of a strong architectural idea with the paradigm of reducing the environmental burden.
The house is located on the northern edge of the town of Ptuj, in an area of single family residential buildings primarily defined by its quiet rural character and the edge of a lowland forest. The edge as the focal point of the greatest spatial complexity has a significant effect on the formulation of the building volume, the vertical allocation of spaces, and the selection of materials. The house distances itself from the existing building stock with its clear abstract architectural diction, while it seeks contact with the natural context through its uniformly designed façade skin composed of horizontal wooden slats. The visual design is emphasized by window openings embedded into aluminium profiles, while the architectural mass is loosened by indentations and a vertical breakdown of the volume.
The parents’ sleeping quarters and the living area are located on the ground floor. The living area gradually extends into the garden through larger openings and terraces, and the garden area surrounds the entire building. The first floor of the house is characterized by a similar gradual horizontal breakdown. It is composed of a larger common living and play area surrounded by the children’s bedrooms, each with its own terrace with attractive open views of the nearby forest and the old city centre.
Sustainability is achieved through various systems that are incorporated into the building. The glass surfaces are shaded by centrally controlled shutters, which move depending on the intensity and quantity of the light input. A heat pump and adequately dimensioned thermal layers serve to reduce the required energy input for heating the building.
The logic, compact and sincere design, together with the technological solutions, shows how sustainability issues can be integrated into a high-quality architectural language. The key question of sustainability is: how much architecture do we actually need? Just a little. And it must be done with taste.
Ernest Milčinovič UDIA
Jure Zavrtanik UDIA