A Zen House Divided In Two Separate Volumes Linked By A Bridge

It’s hard to separate work from home, especially when you actually have an office at home. However, if you’re serious about it, there are ways to make it happen. Architect Petr Stolin illustrated this separation of the functions by organizing the space in two separate volumes. This strategy was employed when designing the Zen House, an unusual residence located in Liberec, in the Czech Republic.

Zen House two volumesInstead of a single and larger building, the architect designed two separate onesZen House site and viewThe structures look similar to each other and have rectangular formsZen House side facadeThe site is surrounded by vegetation but doesn’t have manicured lawns or gardens

The project is called Zen Houses and occupies an area of 75 square meters. It was completed in 2015 and there was a very specific request which basically defined the entire design. The design of the houses had to be centered around SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels). That’s actually what makes the facades look so unusual. As you can see, they’re semi-transparent and they reveal the frames on which the structures were built.

Zen House passage between volumesThe facades of the two structures look unusual, being semi-transparentZen House outdoor yardThe space between the two structures is a sort of interior courtyardZen House interior courtyardSun shades are attached to the two buildings, creating a comfortable outdoor lounge areaZen House sun shadesThe courtyard feels really comfortable, being protected and semi-private

The project is a simplification of a regular house, redefining housing as we know it. It lacks the main atributes of a classical house and it brings to attention new elements and new design possibilities and options. The entire project was organized in two separate volumes with two separate color palettes. One of the volumes is based on white as a main color while the other is centered around black.

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Zen House large tree between buildingsBoth buildings have large windows which offer panoramic views of the surroundingsZen House bridge between volumesA large tree resembles a guardian, set between the buildings and offering shade to both of themZen House interior stairsThe interior is a long and narrow space in the case of both volumes
Zen House interior structureThe interior is organized on two floors in both cases, with a suspended staircase for access

Even though the two structure only have a width of three meters, the interior space doesn’t feel small and doesn’t look confined. There’s a nice flow between the spaces and even between the two volumes. The architect linked them with a wooden bridge. The interior also feels open and bright thanks to the large windows and the strategic orientation of the structures which offers panoramic views of the surroundings.

Zen House upstairs deskOn one of the upper levels the client wanted a workspace with a minimalist desk, a chair and a shelving unitZen House desk areaThe shelf desk is mounted on the wall and maintains a clean and open decorZen House terrace and windowThere’s a clear difference in the color palettes used for the two structures, one being white and the other one blackZen House lounge chairInstead of looking dark and gloomy, the black volume is actually really comfortable and cozyZen House kitchen areaA small firewood burning stove sits on a platform with an open firewood storage area underneathZen House clothes rack suspendedThe walls, floors and ceiling are all painted in a dark shade and this creates an intimate and comfortable ambiance

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Despite the difficult layout and the reduced size, the houses have well-balanced proportions and offer a pleasant spatial experience. The dark volume is a private area where the sleeping area is located. The bedroom and its en-suite bathroom are one and the same space. The tub is actually placed next to the bed with the sink on the opposite wall.

Zen House black walls and floorThe furniture is kept as simple as possible in order to maximize the usable space and to avoid making the volumes feel tinyZen House firewood storageThe simplicity of the interior design is also given by the lack of unnecessary features

The unmistakable simplicity that characterizes this entire project has as a source of inspiration contemporary Japanese architecture and the ingeious and unusual solutions architects find in order to deal with spatial problems. This was an experimental project but its structure and system can be adapted to a variety of cases.

Zen House bedroom and tubThe dark volume is the private zone where the sleeping area is situatedZen House bed and tub comboThe bedroom has an en-suite bathroom with no wall between the two functions

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