Blurred barriers - the mansion in Farkasrét

With clear functions seperated, the mansion in Farkasrét, the work of Zoltán Tóth and Csilla Nagy [Artgroup] still offers a smooth transition between its inside and outside spaces, as well as the sleeping and working areas. 

As there was an old, big house in bad condition on the plot of ground, the property could not be sold over years. The architects prioritized the use of that piece of ground and did not take care of the building, instead they focused on the fundamentals of the plot and on the building parameters. The client wanted to have a single-storey house, but the ground had a significant south slope off the street level. The first quarter of the piece was steeper and the last part was only gently slooping. This inspired us to put the house a level lower, thereby allowing the client to walk on the top of it from the street level. Practically you do not see anything from the street, only the cube of the entrance-hall containing an elevator. In front of it, there is a colorful garden on the top of the building streching along nearly the full plot. It is the fifth facade of the building.

To protect the peace and quiet for the people living in the house, the building is discreetly seperated from the street. For optimal orientation the house is placed in the longitudinal axis of the given piece of ground. The bedrooms are on the eastern, the communal spaces are on the southern, south-western side to get the optimal sunshine all day.

Applying free mass-shaping, the building has projections only where it is determined by function. The corridor is placed on the axis. The different, individual spaces are freely connected to it on the internal or external side, depending on the practical need of use of an outside plantyard or an inside room. This axis devides an intimate, personal zone containing the bedrooms from an active zone including the living and dining rooms.

In the first zone, the bedrooms are all seperated by doors, thereby becoming individual climatic units. In the other one, the corridor, the living room, the kitchen and the dining room act as an integrated internal space. The enormous mobile sheets of glass unite the garden and the house without any limitation, smudging the borders of the building. This feeling is supported by the limestone floor covering, which is the same in the inside and the outside. The unsuspecting guest does not notice if he is inside or outside.

The sense of space is increased by the internal glass courts. The yard between the living and dining rooms is filled with water, which reflects the sunshine as a moving picture. Because of the mobile glass doors the measure of the court can be changed, the living and dining rooms can be seperated from eachother. Having open doors, the two spaces are united and completed by an internal pool. One of the doors runs out to the external space, another moves in the kitchen wall and the third is hidden behind the fireplace. The four meter high glass walls may close or open the double-height livingroom. The other small yard with fixed glass walls is for the zen relaxation garden, which has eastern orientation. The garden between the kitchen and the bathroom provides sunlight for both rooms and a passageway through. The red Japanese maple in a Corten cube is on the black side of the court, while the white eruns until a bank. The whole space is framed by woodbine.

The garden and the plant surfaces determine the spirit and the facade of the building. The garden, starting on the street level runs along the roof, while it follows the ground on both sides and arrives at the living level. There are groundcovers, garden-tree group and a central lawn in this area. The intimity of the garden is protected by a smaller bamboo wall over the swimming pool. The cover of the whole eastern facade is woodbine. It fills the space between the oversized Corten rusty window-frames. The woodbine and the groundcover give a homogeneous green surface, where the wall and the garden grow together. There are concrete cubes in the eastern side of the garden for the spices used in the kitchen. The south-western facade, being full with glass surfaces is decorated by a vertical ornamental garden fixed on the wall.

The structure of the building is organized fundamentally around the internal courtyard being a level lower than the street. The mobile, hidden glass walls provide the option to unite the garden and the internal spaces without any limitation. The building being fitted with solar collectors, heatpumps, PV units is energetically nearly independent. The sprinkled 60 centimetres thick ground on the top of the house, the surface-cooling in the internal spaces, the automatic shading systems, the possibility of the totally natural ventillation and the water surfaces make it easy to have an optimal climat in the house without air conditioning.

Zoltán Tóth