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Feilden + Mawson completes Czech mountain retreat

[First look + plans] Feilden + Mawson has completed this £88,500 house in the Krusne Mountains in west Bohemia, Czech Republic

The house in the village of Pernink near the German border is 820m above sea level and has 500mm-thick external walls made of super-insulated prefabricated clay blocks.

The architect’s view:

The client imposed a free brief right at the start of the design which evolved over a long period. The house represents a hybrid typology of a small residential retreat and a guest house with facilities for local skiing and nature hiking.

The form and scale of the house are largely defined by topography and the orientation towards views of landscape and towards sunlight. The prevailing western winds are tackled with a narrow gable end to minimise their impact.

A small budget and harsh local climate have determined a simple method of construction which has been buildable in two short building seasons. A sense of a cave like protection against climate is supported by the journey from entrance lobby to the upper living space which winds itself twice through this thick internal wall. The floor to ceiling height differs in hierarchy with the staircase zone being of minimal height and the living space being increased to 3m, which strengthens the effect of the landscape entering the building interior through large glazed openings.

The materials used are of high constructional standard and are left in their natural appearance without further treatment – hand applied stucco renderings, massive wood, exposed concrete ceilings and floors and aluminium windows. The heating is built within the floors and powered by gass, with additional option of wood burning stove in the living space. The client was in charge of organising the construction herself with the final costs added to a complete sum of €100,000 inclusive of the plot and internal fittings and furniture.

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