Big Shadow - summer house

Summer house - family retreat in the mountains of South Eastern Bulgaria close to the Black Sea coast. Total floor area: 106 sq.m The single floor scheme includes three bedrooms, sanitary units and large open air veranda / living room space with kitchen Designed with a view of the local building tradition and industry the house has a simple functional plan and is for use in the summer months only. Future enclosure of the open air veranda could turn it into all seasons house. Design retains the principle of the old timber bungalow it replaces – open air living to front, sleeping to back Most of the construction work was completed between March and September 2007. The house has a rendered and painted concrete-and-brick shell. The roof is made of insulation “sandwich` panels, produced by Metalni Konstrukzii, Bourgas. The windows have frames of aluminium profiles, and the timber doors are custom made. The house was completed in the summer of 2008 when the external deck was built and the timber built-in furniture added. The terrace is framed by a lime tree to the east. In fact the tree set out the position of the house on the plot and the floor level, so that in June the east sea breeze carries the smell of the blooming lime onto the deck. We liked the idea of the single floor one could wander around barefoot with a glass of wine in hand… And even on a rainy day you could still be outside and have enough space to spend a whole day without leaving the house floor. This was also a more cost-effective approach – stairs and balconies were out of the scope. The semi-open volume of the terrace at night, with the lights on, also creates the sense of interior. The sizes of all enclosed rooms are kept to a minimum giving more space for the terrace. Windows are small, providing privacy and making the interior of the rooms feel like a beach bungalow. The good roof insulation and the north-facing windows provide pleasant coolness on a hot August day. The front and back windows are aligned, so one could see through the spaces. This emphasizes the feeling of transparency of the volumes. The deep shadow of the terrace is emphasized by the dark painted back wall. The dark colour is soothing on the eyes on a bright summer day. The same paint was also used for the transitional lobbies and bathrooms separating the bedrooms from the terrace. Walking through the dark lobbies helps the eyes to adjust to the lower light level in the bedrooms. The raised thresholds of the external doors enhance the sense of walking in and out. The 10 cm shadow gap at ground makes the building look as if it is hovering in the air. A large boulder at the front south-east corner conveys the idea of gravity and protection. It also works as a balancing anchor confirming the position of the house and keeping it in place


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