Years ago, the now windswept region of Karst in Slovenia was awash with greenery. Looking at the Karst Plateau now -- located a very literal stones throw from Italy -- it might be difficult to believe that the area was once a haven to hundreds of acres of oak trees. That all changed when the people of Venice discovered that they needed something solid to build the City of Water on. Karst’s oak population was left the poorer for it. Without trees to anchor the topsoil, it was swept away by the wind, revealing expanses of limestone underneath.
It was the windy, treeless conditions of living that led to the development of the region’s small and virtually windowless stone and wood houses. In building the “Compact Karst House,” architects at Ljublana-based design studio dekleva gregorič arhitekti wanted to tap into the area’s rich past while introducing contemporary elements to the 990-square-foot family home.
“The house is conceived as a monolithic volume with two inserted wooden volumes connected with interim landing,” the architects explain on the studio’s website. Clearly separating the home allows its inhabitants to use the ground floor as a public space where three large windows provide stunning scenic views. Above the ground floor are the family’s own rooms, which offer smaller but more private views through skylights. The private rooms in particular are meant to act as a house-in-house with “each bedroom performing as a wooden pitched house where one literally feels like sleeping in his own house and not a room.” This generous use of untreated wood in all parts of the home’s interior helps to cement the house-in-house effect while creating a warm juxtaposition against the stone exterior.
The good creatives at dekleva gregorič sum it up most eloquently: “The design of the house addresses the relationship between contemporary and tradition, it opens up questions about the characteristics of traditional architecture...” All we know is that the children who call it home should have quite a blast growing up there.