Text description provided by the architects. Smelynes House is located in the northern part of Vilnius, Lithuania, in a former neighborhood of summer houses, the spirit of which still lingers in its surroundings. The task was to design a house in a very limited plot of land for a young family fond of minimalism philosophy, which also inspired the architecture of the building. The limitations of a plot including its size and surroundings – neighboring houses on three boundaries of the plot as well as a road – evoked a challenge of creating a quality outdoor space. A conscious decision was made not to build a fence in order to not limit the space physically, visually or socially.
In a tight plot a small, white, minimalist house was designed, the only architectural twist here being the covered timber terrace going almost all the way around the house. It is formed in three parts – the main terrace, the car shed and a sheltered walkway from the car shed, to the entrance, to the main terrace. The terrace, therefore, acts as a transitional space between the private and the public as an alternative to a physical fence. In addition, having in mind a limited space left for the yard, a staircase to the roof and a roof terrace are designed to create some everyday magic for the residents.
The size of the house is minimized to the basic needs of a four-member family as well. Therefore it is zoned into two main parts: the sleeping and the living. The sleeping part consists of three small bedrooms, a bathroom, a utility room and a small hall. The spaces merely serve their purpose. The living space, on the contrary, is the focal point and takes nearly half of the house comprising the functions of cooking and eating, spending free time, playing and working. The space is higher than the rest of the house and opens up to a west sun facing terrace. In this way it is extended visually as well as physically during the summer when the family spends most of their time with the window wall open – the boundary between inside and outside literally erased.