House R by Bevk Perović arhitekti is a holiday house, located in the picturesque Alpine area of Bohinj Lake in Slovenia.
Only a short ride away from the springs, lakes, mountains, rivers, falls, and other wonders, the house is a wooden box with a steep pitched roof and silver painted larch-wood panels, looking like a hay storage or a barn in the morning dew on the misty meadow. It stands in the protected conservation area, on the spot where an old house used to be, and - due to regulations- it strictly follows the contours of the preceding structure. This area around lake Bohinj is full of holiday homes dating back to the seventies, mostly designed as literal ‘copies’ of typical Slovenian Alpine architecture - steeply pitched roofs and dark wooden cladding.
The only difference between these and traditional houses of the area is that they stay uninhabited for most of the year, waiting for their owners’ temporary occupation. Therefore the project tries to deal with this notion of temporary occupancy by merging the traditional model of the house with that of a ‘container’ - the new alpine wooden house looks, when unoccupied, like a large wooden box - hay storage or a barn, devoid of windows and doors. Its elevation comprises of series of larch-wood panels, all done in pre-patinated silver gray stain that slides to ‘reveal’ the house as it becomes occupied on weekends or during the holiday season.
All windows and doors (including the entrance), as well as the large open terrace on the ground floor, get ‘hidden’ or ‘revealed’ within the structure of the house, giving it a lease of life or making it ‘mute’ as the user requires. At first sight, a ‘prototypical’ house shape gets animated, making the structure simultaneously traditional and contemporary. The construction of the house is in concrete which is then clad in the homogenous vertical-slatted wooden facade consisting of large size fixed and sliding panels that cover all openings. Under the slatted wooden ‘coating’ is a contemporary, ascetic interior with an open-plan living and dining room area opening towards the surrounding landscape via a large covered terrace in hand-polished terrazzo.
The steep stairs, leading to the cellar area with utility space and sauna, and to the first¸ floor attic containing bedrooms, traverse and separate the living from the dining area on the ground floor. The windows in the bedroom areas, with their seemingly random placing, are in fact ‘frames’, capturing different views - therefore the inhabitants can see their garden or the access path to the house, as well as the sky, directly from their beds.
The house communicates with the surrounding nature in many, not immediately visible ways - it also, due to its temporary use as a weekend retreat, has the ability to be completely closed off from it when needed. In such a way, it successfully merges the ideas of traditional buildings of the area with contemporary needs and habits.