Architects: Igloo Architecture
Location: Corbeanca, Romania
Design Team: Bruno Andreşoiu, Ana Dinuţă, Catrinel Negru, Mircea Stroescu, Dana Tigan
Structural Engineering: Paul Sandu, Florentina Sandu
Installations: George Cristescu, Emanuel Mihai
Area: 550.0 sqm
Photographs: Andrei Creangă
From the architect. The shape of the house reiterates the random setting of three brushwood sticks fallen to the ground, one on top of the other, atop a carpet of leaves, or perhaps gathered there to start a fire. The formal composition maintains this randomness while adding the genetic material containing data for the growth and addition of volumes. The tree, the brushwood and especially the wood, with its materiality, are all regarded as generating expressive elements in the house, both formally and from a tactile point of view.
The design attempts to catch as many views of the forest as possible and take the most advantage of the house’s setting in between slender tree trunks. At the same time, the house seeks to protect the forest by going around the trees as the construction spreads out across the terrain. This expansion into multiple directions is compensated on the inside, where the design truly becomes “whole” again around the interior staircase. The staircase focuses the users attention, at times even strenuously directing it towards the surrounding nature.
Cut out from the terrain with the aid of supporting walls, the built volume is detached from the ground, leaving its concrete structural pillars uncovered and sheltering the garage platform. Like the crown of the tree rising up towards the sun, the house’s levels become leaves overlapping, floating platforms progressively opening up, from the bottom to the top, in terraces that are increasingly more exposed to light, a setting that allows the removal of the main spaces from the ground level which is inevitably shaded. As a matter of necessity, each living area opens up towards the woods, and each access is mediated either by an open or closed terrace, or by a loggia.
From a functional point of view, the spaces are grouped into easily identifiable volumetric areas, always revolving around the trunk – the vertical hollow reaching up the full height of the three stories, home to the interior staircase. Thus, the staircase is the central functional element and the ordering principle of the living areas that are kept separate only to fall back in line again at mid-section according to hierarchical criteria. It is at the same time the element that dictates the diagonals on the facade. In the volume situated directly on the ground floor we find the technical spaces and a one-room apartment reserved for the maintenance staff. The intermediary volume comprises of three distinct areas: the main day area and kitchen, the dinning and living rooms, a guest bedroom and a studio with a study, bedroom, dressing and bathroom. In the upper volume we find two distinct areas, also set off from the staircase: a bedroom with a bathroom and the master bedroom with its own bathroom and dressing.
The cover in the main day areas is a 2D image of the woods captured in still frame from the middle upwards: an alternation of wood panelled blind surfaces and glass panels allowing the landscape to take part in the life of the house. The night areas and secondary spaces have windows on the upper sides, which allow for pleasant lighting and ventilation and impose no restrictions on furniture.
The exterior horizontal surfaces make up a significant ratio of the total built percentage, a result of the attempt to integrate the forest and natural light into everyday life in the house. They are in most cases left uncovered, taking advantage of the live cover provided by the crowns of the trees. Their materiality was meant to respond both to architectural criteria as well as to any criteria pertaining to maintenance, while the Philadelphia travertine in combination with the wood reiterates the chromatic tones of the dried leaves that cover the house throughout the autumn. The glass balustrades on the terraces and balconies support both an opening towards the woods as well as the visual integrity of the major volumetric lines.
On a site that is so inspiring and expressive, the architect finds himself in the delicate position of negotiating the repetitive and obsessive inner cry: BUILT, HOUSE, VOLUME, with the domineering silence of the forest, enveloping and protecting its ecosystem. His resolution is that of a whisper. The tones become vital, as the content cannot be altered – it is, after all, a 21st century home.