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House around a tree
  • Prize of the “Built Architecture / Individual House Architecture” section

House around a tree

Authors: arh. Dan Enache, arh. Calin Radu, arh. Alice Ionita, arh. Andrei Alexa
Firm: Lama Arhitectura

Structure project: ing. Andrei Tudor, ing. Paul Ionescu (Interactive Design S.C.)

Authors’ Comment

The concept of the house was directly generated by the presence of a mature fir tree in the center of the land and by the relation the plot has with the surrounding streets. Out of the obvious desire to preserve and emphasize the tree, the construction withdraws around it, generating a protected, intimate courtyard whose main element is the fir tree. The house is located on a corner plot exposed to 2 quite busy streets, this intimate inner courtyard becoming essential.
Thus, we created two different "sides" of the house that work perfectly together, influenced by the immediate context: the facades facing the streets are perceived as mineral, slightly austere and rather opaque, while the interior façade is curved, transparent, opening towards nature (the tree) and the outside (the intimate courtyard).
Functional layout:
Basement - technical spaces, warehouse; access from the outside through a courtyard of light
Ground floor- Living area, with a plan as open as possible (living room with dining area, kitchen, office, bathroom, closet)
1’st floor - Sleeping area, consisting of a master bedroom with bathroom and dressing room, 2 children's bedrooms with private bathrooms.
Spatial structure and the relations between spaces:
The fir tree, a solution generating element, is the origin of the planimetric arrangement of spaces. Thus, all spaces open with large glazed surfaces towards this inner courtyard, benefiting from the view the tree branches offer. These create (especially upstairs) the feeling of being in the forest, as they come very close to the facade of the house. At the same time, the branches become a visual filter, generating the needed privacy for this night area floor.
On the ground floor ( the day-time living area), large windows on the curved interior facade ensure a clear and useful visual connection (and not only) between all the spaces of the floor. This is facilitated by the lack of branches at this height (as opposed to the night floor-area).
The living room also receives natural light through a linear skylight, located at one end of the space. The doubled height of this area, together with the direct view to the sky, amplifies the feeling of connection with the outer space.
The contrast between the deliberately sober architectural expression of the exterior of the house and the interior of the courtyard is joined by the surprise one has when he enters the house and discovers a completely different geometry and spatial opening, opposed to the one you expected looking from the outside.
From the outside, the lot presents a white mono-volume house, highlighting only window openings, with sliding wooden shutters. They provide shading and privacy from the outside world.

Materials, textures, colors:
For the outside of the house, we used white textured plaster, custom-made sliding shutters, solid wood and grey steel frames for windows and doors.
On the inside, the materials were picked to be as natural as possible, in order to amplify the feeling of connection with the outside space: laminated wooden flooring, raw concrete on the ground floor ceiling and on the structural wall supporting the stairs, plaster finished walls and a grey steel structure for the stairs.

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