|Dekleva Gregorič architects
Glancing at it from either the front or the back, the Chimney House - designed by Dekleva Gregorič architects in the town of Logatec, Slovenia, and completed in 2016 - boasts the simplistic form recognizable from countless children's interpretations of what a "proper" house should be: namely, a square shaped base featuring a rectangular door or a couple of windows cut into it, capped by a slopping roof with a large chimney stack rising from its center. But when view from either side, the viewer notes that the chimney has become "an element of typological transformation," as its inventive architects say, meaning that it dictates not only the lines of the home's design, but also its relation to its environment.
Tailor-made to suit their client, Andrej Dolenc, the 205 square meter home seems to be simple and undoubtedly modern at first glance, but upon further inspection reveals a plethora of resourceful and intriguing elements that all add up to a singular contemporary abode which nonetheless respects its traditional context. This context happens to place it on the borders of the village, bookmarked by a 16th century church and a wood barn. Although the Chimney House stands out thanks to its design, it also blends in thanks to the oiled, larch wood plank façade cladding of its walls, its "chimney," and the darker wood cladding the sloping roof.
Inside, one sees that the building isn't an entirely wood construction. For although light colored, oiled oak panels cover "all surfaces that can be reached and touched by the human body," glancing up the centrally aligned plan of the room reveals that the roof and upper parts of the walls are constructed out of reinforced concrete. This is most evident in the kitchen, the room which is indisputably the focal point of the inhabitants’ daily lives where a wood-burning stove is located at its center, its functional dark gray volume leading up from the central kitchen island to the center of the angled ceiling - the "chimney" of the project's title - which is actually a glass skylight, running across the entire construction and spilling a wide beam of sunlight into the center of the space.
"Multifunction" is actually a buzz word in this home's construction. The aforementioned wood walls are so thick that they conceal not only inventive storage spaces, but also window "seats" which are pushed back into the wall, creating intimate nooks for the inhabitants to take respite. Simple glass globe light fixtures hang from the ceiling while furnishings are kept to a minimal throughout, for example in the kitchen, a wood table is simply surrounded by black, metal chairs while a wood bed is singled out in the upstairs bedroom.
For everything in this home is designed to lead both its inhabitants and guests' gazes upwards towards the sky; to take in the passing clouds and ever-changing weather conditions and to incorporate true, natural living within the confines of a cozy, comfortable and elemental home.