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Three Stacked Blocks 

Scheme design proposal for a new family house

Ljubljana, Slovenia, 2015

Monolith from the outside, three stacked blocks on the inside.

The plot for the new family house is located in Sneberje in cadastral municipality Zadobrova, Slovenia. It is surrounded by a busy Sneberska road on the south and smaller residential buildings on the east and northeast side. Tall trees on the west and northwest side of the plot are obstructing the view towards the extensive meadow, where housing blocks will be built in the near future.

The design starting point for the new building was determined by the maximum volume of the house, which is defined in the municipal land-use plan. With additional excavation on the plot, regulations regarding dimensions can be met, while still building a three-floor house: one floor for parents, one for children, and a shared ground floor where the family will spend most of their time together. The three floors are clearly defined by three “wooden blocks” (cross laminated timber structure), stacked perpendicularly one above another, in which all services (toilet, utility, bathroom, kitchen, storage) are concentrated.


The bottom wooden block, oriented in north-south direction, divides the ground floor into a large living area, open towards the green garden outside, and the service corridor, where all accesses to the services are placed. The 1st floor wooden block, positioned perpendicularly onto the ground floor block, oriented in east-west direction and pushed towards the northern side of the building, is intended for parents. In it there are master bedroom, bathroom, closet and sauna with relaxation area. From here there is easy access to the living area in the ground floor or the children rooms in the floor above. Additionally, there is a small office space on the top of the ground floor wooden block – on a mezzanine, that overlooks the living area on the west and the service corridor on the east side of the house. The whole 3rd floor, which is an attic space, is intended for the two children. Here the two upholstered sleeping niches and a large shared playing area with bathroom are placed in a wooden block, oriented in a north-south direction.


By stacking wooden blocks perpendicularly one above another we created uneven spaces with different heights on places where that makes sense. This simple design act adds value to conventional, sometimes even dull living areas, and transforms them into uneven, two- or three-height level spaces. In this way, all three floors are visually connected and encourage interaction between family members.


On the north, south and east side the facade is mostly closed, so that it serves as a sound and visual barrier towards the two busy roads, that run along the south and east side of the plot. The windows on these facades are precisely placed according to internal spatial arrangement, natural light conditions and the most pleasant views. The west facade, on the other hand, is a large glass surface that is completely open towards the garden and visually connects inner and outer living area. In summer time a large, 2.2-metre-deep canopy and a movable outer curtain protect the glass facade against the hot sun, and in winter the same facade accumulates the low sunrays and additionally heats up the living area.


From the street side this family house looks like a simple monolithic building, while from the garden side its full height glass facade discloses its dynamic inner structure, created with three stacked blocks, that are hidden from the views of the passers-by and only seen by the family members and their guests.


Location: Ljubljana, Slovenia

Project date: 2015
Completion date: -

Site area: 846  m2

Gross building area: 116 m2

Total floor area: 213 m2

Type: residential

Client: private


Project team: SVET VMES, d.o.o.: Jure Hrovat, Ana Kosi, Ana Kreč, Žiga Rošer

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