A house for three generations is great because it means the whole family can stay together and give each a helping hand but it also has to assure the privacy of the occupants with rooms where they can retreat. If the architecture, already rather complex to address, also sits in a harmonious balance with its environment then the designers have done a really great job.
This is what happened in Šternberk, a small town in Moravia, Czech Republic where the architecture firm Masparti (Martinka Spusta Architekti) worked their magic. The architects were born and raised in Šternberk but they have never stopped discovering it. They are very clear about their ambition which is not to change their town but rather to look at it and engage with it in a wider context. This design approach is also manifested in House on a Slope located, as the name tells us, on a hill below the forest, almost at the end of the street. The buildings in this area date back to the period between the two World Wars, when large multi-storey villas were built. Over the following years, and with the population growth, the large original gardens were subdivided into smaller lots where smaller houses were built in a process that increased population density.
The scheme of the new house is designed to provide spaces for three generations with a total usable floor area of 190 square metres situated on a slope that overlooks the wooded hillside on the other side. This view is unimpeded for people entering from the top, or forest end of the street and also for the people living on the opposite side of the street since the height of the house is rather low. The house also has great views across the town and over to the Drahany highlands on the horizon.
To avoid disturbing the balance of the neighbourhood with a dominant house, the architects of Masparti decided to embed the house as far as possible into the hill itself so part of it is underground and the single rectangular cube-like block stretches down the slope into the narrow garden. The great thing about this house is that not only does it fit into the site topography, it is also a great fit for the generations living there. The main entrance is situated on the upper floor that is accessible from the street. This is where the architects added a two-car garage and located the larger apartment with terrace. The smaller apartment is on ground level and has a direct entry to the garden.
This way, each of the two floors has its own, complete functional scheme that meets all the needs of everyday life. Both the upper floor and the lower floor have a living room, dining room, kitchen and independent entrance. The lower floor accommodates a bedroom for the grandparents and two for the children.
A steel staircase that connects the two floors inside has a very unusual conformation. Its industrial feel and standout presence make it a real focal point in the interior design which on the whole sticks with sleek lines and a neutral colour palette, with wood adding a touch of warmth to the white walls and concrete ceilings. The end result is a warm, welcoming and practical home that respects the environment at the same time.
Architects: Masparti - http://www.masparti.com
Project location: Šternberk, Czech Republic
Project year: 06 /2013
Completion year: 2014 – 2017
Project size build area: 190 m2, area netto 212 m2
Site size Volume brutto: 1300 m3, site area 630 m2
Collaborators: D. Lemák, R. Koiš / Statika Olomouc – structural design