- Project Management : Vernes Causevic
- Project Architect : Vernes Causevic
- Architect : Lucy Dinnen
- City : Sarajevo
- Country : Bosnia and Herzegovina
Text description provided by the architects. Situated in an ordinary unplanned neighbourhood in Sarajevo, the Half House is a new studio extension and refurbishment of the ground floor of a typical Bosnian ‘family house’. The Half House has been designed for a wheelchair user and his wife by Projekt V Arhitektura. The studio extension is a new typology for the area: it is in between a detached studio house, a family gathering space, and a ‘weekend’ countryside house common to the region.
The existing house and ground floor apartment was built in the1980s and has been reconfigured through decades of ‘ad-hoc’ interventions and extensions following the war in the 90s. Resulting in limited, constrained space for living, moving around in a wheelchair, and hosting a large family. The Half House responds to the disjointed, post-war character of the surrounding neighbourhood and existing family house, with a simple, elemental, minimalistic architecture that brings an order to its setting.
This first completed phase includes the interior of a new side extension that can act as a semi-detached studio. Designed to accommodate a carer in the couple’s later life, it incorporates a large open-plan dining and living area; covered terrace with barbecue; a WC with walk-in shower; and an upper mezzanine. The form of the studio extension is a single pitched roof, held up by two long flank walls that create a long open-plan central space that gives a sense of generosity. Glazed pocket sliding doors extend the living area and create the feeling of a large outdoor covered space.
A key architectural feature of the design is the floor-to-ceiling, built-in joinery walls that span the full length of the dining, living and outdoor areas. The walls are treated like a façade, with carved out voids to accommodate windows, passage-ways, seating, book shelving, storage cupboards, and a space for a future lift to the mezzanine. They transform in use. Opening in-built cupboards, windows and doors, changing the sofa to a bed, or lighting a fire in the stove, are everyday actions that bring the walls to life and give the space a sense of dynamism.
The interior oak walls introduce nature into the space, drawing on the forests of Bosnia. The walls reference key timber elements of a traditional Bosnian townhouse: a ‘Musandera’, a deep line of built-in cupboards that are typically located along the length of the wall that one walks through when entering a room. The upper gallery also references the wooden veranda’s ‘Divanhana’ and ‘Kemarija’—transitional spaces between inside and outside located on the upper floors.
The mezzanine level, with in-built book shelving, is a peaceful space separated from the remainder of the house.
The second phase of the project started on site in early 2021 and includes a full interior refurbishment of the original apartment and a new facade. Projekt V Arhitektura are a young Architecture and Research studio based in Sarajevo and London.