It’s a residential home located close to town, yet it expresses a oneness with nature through unique architectural design. The Internal Landscape Villa takes the traditional front yard and moves it to the center of the structure, creating a nearly invisible transition between indoors and outdoors.
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Designed by Atelier Štěpán studio, Internal Landscape Villa was developed on a relatively small lot in the Czech Republic. The builders report strict building regulations that added to the challenge of creating a home that met the client’s desire to “live largely in the open air.” However, they achieved this goal through a creative placement for the footprint of the home and noteworthy sky windows that flood the space with natural light.
“I wanted to try and create an inner disposition in which people can move naturally, where they can swim like a fish in the water,” said Marek Jan Štěpán. “The kind of relaxed living where you subconsciously anticipate where everything is. The natural flow of the daylight is most important. As light flows through large windows as well as through circular openings in the roof.”
The house is situated in close vicinity to parklands, work, school, family and cultural events in the area. It’s essentially built into the sloped terrain with three distinct platforms that create a subtle tiered effect. While the main entrance platform sits at street level, the main living platform is elevated by a little less than a story above the street level. The atrium outdoors is elevated another few feet. However, one area flows into another, all with an emphasis on the centralized internal lawn area. Outdoors, there are more living spaces with benches for seating and a soaking pool.
The architects chose different building materials for each level, matching the needs of the landscape. The bottom portion is made of concrete, while the upper levels and the inside of the courtyards are composed of wood. The outside of the home is clad in locust. Inside, floors are finished in a combination of unpolished concrete and oak.
The villa was designed and built to a low-energy standard. It’s equipped with floor heating and wall heaters. Heat is provided by a gas condensing boiler and the passive design contributes to natural cooling. A wood-burning fireplace also supplements the heat requirements.
Since the area has a high level of natural groundwater, it is collected in a reservoir beneath the atrium area. Bathing water is heated inside the home through power collected from rooftop solar panels.