modern country home or an ancient cottage? It’s not the only question you ask yourself when you are looking at this extraordinary cottage on the green hills of Zagorje, the region on the border between Croatia and Slovenia. This unusual and extraordinary union of local tradition and contemporary architecture is set on a small mount, surrounded as far as the eye can see by uncontaminated landscape composed by hills, fields and forests.
By studio Proarh of Davor Matekovic of Zagreb, the project’s approach is to help you completely immerse yourself in the surrounding natural spectacle. The pre-existing home, a traditional building constructed with locally sourced oak, was in disrepair. The refurbishment project has preserved the original structure, replacing the porch with a glass rectangle that doesn’t extend the home as it turns by 90 degrees, projecting towards a view of the slope.
The different areas of the cottage are clearly subdivided: the communal areas are on the ground floor, the bedroom quarter is in the attic. The glass box that has replaced the porch is the home’s living room and entrance, a “public” area projected towards the outdoors, nature, as well as the view you partake in during the day. Inside the pre-existing building, the kitchen and the dining area share the same space, recreating what once was the corner with the fireplace. To the side, a small guest room that serves as a tiny living room too, ideal for intimate evening chats.
The reinterpretation of historical traditions, as expressed by the new spatial layout, manifests itself in the exterior with an innovative use of an archaic and nearly forgotten material such as straw. Once considered as a suitable roofing material, studio Proarh has used it to clad the walls as well, creating a bewitching and unusual straw shell that covers the ancient part of the building.
This tiny, wonderful home pays tribute as well to the rich agricultural tradition of the Zagorje region. Kumrovec is a stone’s throw away, an ancient ethnic-village, a sort of museum of late nineteen century rural architecture (the birthplace of Marshall Tito) that has preserved and restored its ancient traditional homes. Gathered along the coves of a stream crossed by wooden bridges and a path surrounded by fields, it feels as if were a postcard from a bygone era.
This project by studio Proarh returns to traditional simplicity and a direct contact with nature, respectfully introducing innovative and contemporary elements as well as letting the home breath, change as the time passes, today, tomorrow and in the decades to come.