Rašovka’s family home is located in the Czech region of Liberec, northeast of the capital Prague. On the southern slope of the Ještěd ridge, the house is at an altitude of 600 m above sea level and offers a view of the Bohemian Paradise – a protected landscape area and the first nature reserve of the Republic Czech. Designed by Adam Jirkal and Tomáš Kubák of Atelier SAD and interior designer Iveta Zachariášová of Iveta Zachariášová Interior Design, the house was built on one of the last building plots available in Rašovka at the time.
On a plot of 1685 m², the private residence occupies only 158 m² of built-up area with a floor plan of approximately 22.5 x 7 m. The nearly rectangular footprint of the structure is oriented along the contour line so that its restrained mass diagonally cuts the steep slope of the street. To the south, open unfenced meadows with flowering plants dominate the landscape. The concept of the design, in fact, revolves around access to the landscape, both physical and visual.
The site is approached from the street to the north by an embankment which connects to the parking space of the low house. The ground floor is 4.5m below this approach level and contains the main living areas. From the west, an exterior staircase along a stone wall leads to the ground floor from street level. Additionally, an entrance from the parking lot leads directly to the bedroom on the first floor – the second floor of the two-story house.
On the ground floor, the external staircase leads to the entrance of the house, through a double-loaded hallway, with an anteroom, toilet, laundry room and wardrobe to the north, while a master bedroom, a bathroom and two smaller bedrooms face south. The hallway culminates in the living room, accessible from below an internal staircase that leads to the upper floor.
The living space hosts an open plan kitchen, dining area and informal seating area, all facing the valley beyond the glazed wall to the south. A semi-outdoor patio extends from the eastern diagonal wall of the living space – also fully glazed – and connects it to the garden beyond. The presence of openings at floor height all along the south wall ensures a visual connection with the exterior landscape, for all the spaces on the ground floor. The east and south walls form a contiguous façade, left unobstructed due to the absence of a corner column.
An island kitchen counter separates the kitchen from the south-facing dining area, while the living room occupies the north end of the double-height ground floor space. A pivoting cast iron French fireplace, suspended from the ceiling rafters, merges the different functions of this volume.
The design of the staircase, located above the entrance to the living room, has the appearance of an offset cast iron profile, to compensate for the lack of space of a standard staircase. Divided into two separate rows of stairs, the treads are halved in width while the risers are doubled in height. Used together, their staggered shape makes the stair fit a standard sized feature.
The upper floor opens onto a gallery which leads to the bedroom adjoining the car park. The sloping roof above gives this space an attic-like appearance, with clerestory windows perforating the slope of the roof.
Two distinct roofs make up the elevation of the building, a flat roof which accommodates the parking space and a pitched roof with varying degrees – above the double-height living room as well as the bedroom and gallery above. Ranging from an angle of 43 to 30 degrees, the dissimilar height of the pitched roof owes its design to the function it accommodates. It is therefore highest above the bedroom on the first floor, while the end towards the living room dips to the east, seeming to descend to join the garden below. Outside, the roof is made of anthracite-colored bent aluminum sheets while inside, the ceiling soffit is clad in bleached birch plywood.
The facade design is an exploration of Portuguese expanded cork and gives the house a natural palette that allows it to blend into the landscape on which it sits. Alternating strips of varying thicknesses of cork are clad across the entire facade, offsetting the linearity of the otherwise horizontal building. A combination of plastered brick partition walls with an exposed reinforced concrete perimeter wall and ceiling contributes to the industrial layout of the building design.
Rašovka’s family house exemplifies residential design on a sloping plot. It can be read as the manifestation of a functionalist concept composed of an iron frame and free facades with the aim of having uninterrupted access to the outside. A streamlined volume, constructed using industrial building materials, is arranged over several floors accessed from above, around the sloping terrain, so that a holistic association with the landscape is maintained throughout the house.
Last name: Family house
Location: Rasovka, Prague, Czech Republic
Architecture: DSS workshop
Interior design : Iveta Zachariášová Interior Design
The site area: 1685m2
Built-up area: 158m2