Log house in Smrečje, Gorski kotar


From the street, a very ordinary log house. From the garden: a peculiar cascading roof. What is not as it seems? Many a thing…

This house is designed as a minimum house for maximum experience, and the contrast defined every aspect of it. Although it is only 70m2 in usable area, it can comfortably receive six people and feel extremely spacious. The secret is in its proportions, i.e. in the fact that the living space is so much taller than the bedrooms and service rooms that it seems like a roofed courtyard with a fireplace. However, in order to prevent that space from being disproportionately tall in relation to its width and length, its roof has three levels thereby forming three spatial zones of varying heights which flow into one another and eventually connect the attic with the ground floor terrace. In addition to that, in order to prevent the transition from rooms into the living space from being as abrupt as a guillotine, in between them there is an interior porch which eliminates the need for corridors.

Contrast and gradation are evident in the shaping of windows, too: Where the windows serve primarily for ventilation, their size is minimal, whereas those that provide views of the frontyard or the backyard with distant forests and mountains are made huge. It is similar with the size of rooms: Those that are mere sleeping places can fit a bed, shelves and nothing else, whereas the one where you can spend longer time with more luxury even has a jacuzzi. There is contrast on the outside, too: Viewed from the street, the house seems like a typical gabled-roof symmetrical house with a quaint entrance porch. Viewed from the back, however, the entire nature of the house's interior is reflected in its external appearance.

The author must thank Hans van der Laan for the inspiration in handling proportion, acquired while translating his book Architectonic Space into Croatian.

What could have been done better? Although wood is a material with a relatively low carbon footprint, log houses are the most wasteful and technically problematic type of wooden houses.

Licensed architect: Dinka Pavelić, M.Arch.                                                     Author: Veljko Armano Linta