Cichy House / 2017
A young couple approached us through a recommendation. It was a typical renovation project. The project was as one might say ‘not very interesting’ but then as our principle goes we do not refuse a project, it’s like the old phrase ‘what goes around comes back’. Our past experiences have always taught us that great designs are always a product of what at the start might seem like banal commissions and what at the start might seem as interesting brief end up in a failure. For instance, once a client approached us with a proposal of designing a nuclear shelter close to his house. We took up the job. The client admitted that we were the only designers in the whole area who were ready to design his proposal, we tried to control our laughter after hearing that. Finally, the shelter was built equipped with all the necessary devices, approval from the governing body, etc. In my personal opinion, it served more like an expensive garden shelter. The point is because we treated the project professionally not keeping in mind the size, budget, etc we were recommended by the client resulting in two commissions in a short duration. Coming back to the Cichy House. For a typical renovation project, it wasn’t particularly bad. The project was ambitious but still, it was typical.
From typical to individual
Personally, there is no such thing as typical designs because every plot is atypical similarly every person is atypical. We design a house for a particular person taking into account his habits, aesthetic, preferences, lifestyle, family, budget, interest and even his fears, basically a holistic personality. Same goes for a project or a place, it has their own specific characteristics.
However, the young couple was very specific in their choices and we did not try to force our decisions. After meeting them we realized that they were very specific and had a good taste. Initially, the scope of work consisted of an extension to the living room and landscape around the house. The project was printed and paid for. On the day of handover, the client asked,
“Mr.Marek, do you like this project?”
I replied, “For a typical project its good, but if you design it, it would be a lot different.”
“What should we do to make it better?” he said.
Venture the concept.
The House - acoustic barrier
The fairly long plot lies in the North-South direction parallel to the acoustic screen of motorway A1 at a distance of about 100 m, which makes the noise travel from the highway travel directly towards the plot.
The house consists of four main walls which act as an acoustic barrier. All main functions of the house are located in between these walls. The walls and roof are moved beyond the glazing which gives two major advantages viz. it limits the noise from the motorway and protects the interior spaces from the summer sun and winter sun.
Originally the walls were designed to be in concrete but due the lack of availability of suitable contractor the walls had to plastered and painted white. The house represents two tunnels (a big one & a small one) placed in N-S direction. The living room is formed in a covered space between these two tunnels. These tunnels open to the views of gardens and terraces.
The entrance court is closed with heavy wooden gates. One of the aspects of the project is the lawn which is not flat but sculpted in form of ripples almost representing a lake or a sea. This allows for the shadow play during the daytime making the lawn appear as moving waves.