The first time STUDIO 1408 visited the site in Balote?ti, Romania, the location impresses them. A beautiful meadow surrounded by an old forest with huge oak trees. They asked themselves “How do we design a house that compliments the surroundings but does not overshadow them?”, and “What exactly makes a house great?”.
There are a thousand possible answers to this question but not one that is absolutely right or wrong. The studio felt the most important answer in this situation is to create a meaningful connection to the special surroundings, a connection to nature and the community, and this belief has shaped the whole project.
STUDIO 1408 designed the house around the exterior space, a loggia with beautiful views on two opposite sides, yet protected from wind and rain which makes it usable in all seasons. The home is big enough to hold a dinner for twelve, yet cozy enough for just one person reading a book on a rainy day. The design team imagined these moments and designed the spaces to hold them.
The corner lot is a particularly difficult lot, as it requires a six-meter retreat from both streets leaving a narrow strip as the buildable area. To emphasise this corner land, we designed a long brick wall that develops a controlled intimacy for the spaces of the ground floor.
On this brick wall, the stone bench has a symbolic significance. Most of us live in disconnected neighbourhoods so it is difficult to feel we are part of a community. In rural communities in Romania, there is a bench in front of every house where people would gather and connect with each other. So, this bench is exactly that, an invitation to the neighbours, a place for community and friendship.
The staircase, the sculptural element of the house, takes us to the evening spaces that the studio envisioned as a nest, that sits protected on the brick wall, completing the symbolism of the house.