It’s hard to separate work from home, especially when you actually have an office at home. However, if you’re serious about it, there are ways to make it happen. Architect Petr Stolin illustrated this separation of the functions by organizing the space in two separate volumes. This strategy was employed when designing the Zen House, an unusual residence located in Liberec, in the Czech Republic.
The project is called Zen Houses and occupies an area of 75 square meters. It was completed in 2015 and there was a very specific request which basically defined the entire design. The design of the houses had to be centered around SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels). That’s actually what makes the facades look so unusual. As you can see, they’re semi-transparent and they reveal the frames on which the structures were built.
The project is a simplification of a regular house, redefining housing as we know it. It lacks the main atributes of a classical house and it brings to attention new elements and new design possibilities and options. The entire project was organized in two separate volumes with two separate color palettes. One of the volumes is based on white as a main color while the other is centered around black.
Even though the two structure only have a width of three meters, the interior space doesn’t feel small and doesn’t look confined. There’s a nice flow between the spaces and even between the two volumes. The architect linked them with a wooden bridge. The interior also feels open and bright thanks to the large windows and the strategic orientation of the structures which offers panoramic views of the surroundings.
Despite the difficult layout and the reduced size, the houses have well-balanced proportions and offer a pleasant spatial experience. The dark volume is a private area where the sleeping area is located. The bedroom and its en-suite bathroom are one and the same space. The tub is actually placed next to the bed with the sink on the opposite wall.
The unmistakable simplicity that characterizes this entire project has as a source of inspiration contemporary Japanese architecture and the ingeious and unusual solutions architects find in order to deal with spatial problems. This was an experimental project but its structure and system can be adapted to a variety of cases.