To reflect the quality and precision of entries into the WAN House of the Year Award category, we assembled a panel of the most eminent names within the architectural community. This year’s jury panel were: Kristian Hyde, Co-Founder of Hyde + Hyde Architects, Kieran McGonigle, Co-Founder of McGonigleMcGrath, Chantal Wilkinson, Director of Wilkinson King Architects, and Maria Hurtado de Mendoza, Principal at estudio.entresitio.
The winner was selected from the six shortlisted projects, who all had addressed the judging criteria of the award. The judges all agreed that each project had a strong sense of concept that was carried through to the architecture of each building.
The design of the small Compact Karst House corresponds to the needs of a young family, and simultaneously follows current technological principles and the tradition of the similar, almost windowless, houses of the Karst region. Redefinition of the traditional stone Karst house led to the concept of a proto-house as a compact, mono-material, pitched roof volume for contemporary countryside living in this part of Slovenia. Kristian was first to comment: “This project sends out a message that it’s not about size or budget.”
The house is conceived as a monolithic volume with two inserted wooden volumes connected with an interim landing that acts as a playroom. Chantal commented that: “The interiors are engaging - it’s beautifully simple, I love it.” The wooden volumes - which accommodate the master bedroom, children’s bedroom and bathroom - provide intimacy. The ‘house-within-a-house’ concept allows each bedroom to perform primarily as a wooden pitched house, where it feels like sleeping in one’s own house rather than a room. The rest of the internal space operates as public open space opening out onto the landscape through three large square windows. “It is spatially modest, with wonderfully refined detailing” stated Kieran.
The redefinition of the traditional Karst roof clad in stone - with its texture, colour, material and its steep inclination - is executed as a contemporary concrete interpretation with simple technological ingenuity. “There’s such an honesty of materials” commented Kristian. The materially inseparable connection between the façade and the roof is the key allusion to the image of the typical Karst village.
The region was once covered with oak trees, which the Venetians used extensively to build their ‘city-on-water’. They left the wind to strip away the soil, revealing limestone ground beneath. This local limestone, set into the concrete during the casting process, gives the walls the appearance of having a solid masonry construction.
Maria concluded that the project had “an equally beautiful and interesting exploration on the role of material and it's relationship to form, tradition and culture.”
We’d like to take the opportunity to thank not only the jury, but all who entered their projects into this years’ WAN House of the Year Award.