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Fishing Lodge, Bulgaria by Simon Gill Architects

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Clad in timber, this house blends into the forest behind

The architect’s view

Overlooking Lake Batak in the Rhodope Mountains of Bulgaria, the house addresses the challenging physical and climatic geography of the site. The ground slopes away down to the lake at a 1:5 gradient but also up behind, being forested with very tall trees. Except in high summer, very little sun falls on the site for most of the day. Being at an altitude of 1,400m, the temperature can fall to -20°C on a winter night, and a metre of snow is quite typical; in summer, temperatures can reach 40°C.

The sleeping areas are dug into the site to stabilise the internal environment while living and dining areas are above in a tall, slim, massively insulated volume, atop of which lie solar panels, above the shadows of the trees. The house thus also has a reduced visual impact on the landscape, with timber cladding allowing it to blend into the forest behind.

  • Simon Gill, director, Simon Gill Architects

Project data

Start on site June 2009
Completion July 2012
Gross internal floor area 280m²
Contract/procurement Bespoke
Construction cost £152,000
Construction cost per m² £524
Architect Simon Gill Architects
Executive architect RT Consult
Client The Gill and Petkov families
Structural engineer RT Consult
M&E consultant None
Quantity surveyor None
Project manager Evgeni Petkov
Main contractor Evgeni Petkov
Cad software used AutoCAD LT 2008
Estimated annual CO2 emissions 8.1kg/m²

Specified products

External timber cladding

Local spruce, charred with blowtorch, followed by by application of Milesi semi-translucent stain and seal


Timber windows, doors and internal paneling

Local spruce with application of Milesi stain and seal

Timber floor

Local pine with application of Milesi stain and seal

Timber cupboards

Local pine with application of Milesi stain and seal

Bathroom wall tiles

TED Keramika Alaplana Ceramica Elegance Azul

Bathroom floor tiles

TED Summit colour B/O3 C1

Master Shower mosaic

TED glass mosaic MCWE Silver Rete

Flat roof

Slaifana terrazzo - black white and cream stones

External ground surfaces and vertical plinths

Mita terrazzo - black white and cream stones

Vanity tops and splashback

Back-painted glass

Door handle

Lira by Technecon


Kitchen worktop

Italian black granite from local mason

Pergola cables, light-switch cables, pendant light cables

3mm steel cable

Norfolk Marine



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