architecture : urban : visual culture

Home in the Verge of Nature

Detached houses are usually designed in response to constraining environmental factors, which can also be a blessing in disguise. At least that was the case when Balázs Vörös was designing a home in Buda, among the lush greenery of a nearby forest. According to the architect, however, natural and social confinements only made the project more complex and potent.

When we were approached to make the design, quite an exciting task began to emerge as a result of the existing features. Meeting constraints generally requires more thinking, but at the same time, the given conditions immediately provide clear and tangible points to begin with. Therefore, constraints can ease the design process especially when they are combined with a vibrant environment.

The site is narrow, steeply sloping towards the East side - getting South light from the side – with strict installation parameters. The neighbours’ closeness on the sides almost jeopardized intimacy - also raising questions concerning stability during the foundation process. Nonetheless, its greatest value lies in the wide panorama facing the valley and the lush vegetation present all around.


Home in north Buda - architect: Vörös Balázs - visualization: Berki Bálint

 

The building was essentially formed around three simple ideas. Adapting to a particular site grounds the building which includes the natural desire for attachment, settlement and agreement with materials. Disengaging, lifting away from these is just as much a human desire - the architectural formulation of which is offered by the sloping field and panorama. The most important idea is the creation of internal spaces in the spirit of comfort, intimacy, and basic functional needs - that needs to be interpreted together with the two aforementioned points.

In terms of the building’s character, a vague image began to emerge right from the beginning which was further articulated during the design process by harmonizing desired functions and given traits. The intention of adapting to the terrain as much as possible and keeping, replacing vegetation was unequivocal. We aimed to place the house in the prolific greenery with its own use of natural materials, camouflaging colour, the light lamella shading system in front of the façade, facing the panorama, should stand out of the terrain still appearing to be an integral part of the building. The entrance’s position in the above-mentioned duality between heavy and light elements was a natural addition.


Home in north Buda - architect: Vörös Balázs - visualization: Berki Bálint

 

With regards to detached houses, the relationship between internal-external spaces always raises exciting questions, especially when we wish to intensify that relationship. Creating thresholds, along with their multiple uses, was a fundamental part of the design.

The house, wherever it may be placed on the site, will divide the garden into two poles due to its narrowness. The two external areas can, however, be perceived together with the living room, kitchen and dining room further enlarging internal spaces. After the first founding thought, we’ve placed the living room in a way that it would have direct access to the back garden ending with a balcony towards the valley – the triple division of functions determined on the main level would also be followed on other levels:

  • Inferior functions can be found in the North lane – hallway, circulation core, restroom, summer kitchen/pantry looking over a covered terrace – providing acoustic and thermal protection for other parts of the building.
  • The open plan living room – dining room – kitchen, bedrooms, and reading gallery were given a place in the middle including the guest bedroom on the ground level.
  • These, from the South, are bordered with a transitional filtering area – also thermally detached – ending with balconies on both East and West ends as part of the external form created. The lamellas, canopy and the balconies provide views in and protection from the sun, letting in filtered light. This is the zone where the street and the intimate back garden is gradually connected since the house is attached to a walkway, this is also where the entrance opens all protected.

Balázs Vörös

 

 

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