The concept of this house is based on honest use of the material - the concrete shell provides structural stability and also results in an expressive visual appearance. It is characterised by aesthetically and constructively challenging details such as the expressive gutters and the long, thin roof planes above the entrances. The placement, dimensions and shape of the window openings are determined by both aesthetic and practical considerations, and their aluminium frames echo the aesthetic of the rough concrete. The landscape design is limited to simple concrete slabs immersed in the grass.
The house in Jurmala is located in a quiet place, surrounded by pine trees typical of the seaside landscape. The architectural concept is based on an honest use of the material – the concrete shell provides structural stability and also results in an expressive visual appearance. This has been achieved by reversing the traditional building principle and insulating the building from the inside. This solution allowed to bring the load-bearing concrete structure visible from the outside, as well as to implement a number of other aesthetically and constructively challenging details. The logic or the arrangement of spaces is also clearly reflected in the volume of the building, which consists of linearly arranged units with slightly different heights. The expressive rainwater gutters integrated in the construction of the building and the long, thin roof planes above the entrances give the building its original character.
The placement and dimensions of the windows, as well as the different shapes of the openings, are determined by both aesthetic and practical considerations. The sloping planes of the openings give the facade a unique look, meanwhile allowing more light to penetrate the rooms. The North-facing kitchen window protrudes outwards, creating a niche to sit in inside of the house. The low and wide opening in the living room is also particular – with its heights of only 1.6 m from the floor it specifically frames the surrounding landscape from the perspective of a seated person. Window frames and doors are in aluminium and the natural tone of this material is preserved as one of the aesthetic qualities that complement the rough character of concrete.
The corridor features a series of fine concrete columns, which shield the view to the inside from the other wing of the building, while one can enjoy the play of sunlight shining through the pines, instead.
The project pays particular attention to the integrity between the outdoor and indoor. The interior concrete floor continues without a threshold or change in its level to the outside – on the concrete terrace, which continues in the natural surroundings just as imperceptibly. Overall, the landscape has been designed with minimal interference with the environment - the surrounding trees and microrelief have been preserved, and the entrances of the building can be reached by following a path of simple concrete slabs immersed in the grass.
In plan of the building follows a logical sequence of spaces, practicality of use and optimal orientation towards sun. The closest to the entrance to the plot is a carport, as well as a relatively separate volume housing a storage space for gardening tools and sports equipment. It is connected to the rest of the building by a private entrance room, from which one can directly access the garden.
The light corridor leads pass the children’s bedrooms to the center of the house – a large space housing the kitchen and living room. The windows of the children’s rooms are oriented to the East, providing optimal lighting for rest and study, and protecting them from possible noise from the living room and courtyard.
At the intersection of the wings of the building there is the main entrance and a large technical space which doubles as a hobby room. The spacious living area and the open kitchen are designed to be as open as possible to the courtyard terrace. The most private functions – the master bedroom, wardrobe and bathroom – are situated at the very end of this building volume.
At the heart of the concept of this building are the structural and aesthetic qualities of concrete. In order to implement this idea, detailed drawings were produced, in which the location of every single formwork seam and clamp was planned. The execution of the sloping window openings and rainwater gutters required careful handwork by the builders. The positioning of concrete joints is also determined by the visual concept of the building, instead of following the logic of optimization of the construction process.
In order to emphasize the aesthetic properties of concrete and the monolithic, sculptural volume of the building, solutions have been devised that allow to omit such unaesthetic details as tin coverings of parapets and window sills. Aluminum window frames and doors are also thoughtfully embedded in concrete facade - either flush with it or as much as possible hidden behind the structure, leaving visible only the moving parts and glazing.
This is a low energy building – it is heated by a ground heat pump and the ventilation system has a recuperation function.