In the beautiful alpine resort of Bled in Slovenia lies a hidden architectural gem. The project is an underground extension of a 19th century villa, offering 1200 sqm. of 'invisible' living space at ground-floor level and a roof terrace above. The fully glazed facade offers stunning views over the lake at Bled whilst looking from the other side of the lake the form is in perfect harmony with the surrounding mountains. On the ground floor, the living area is organised at different levels around a central helical spiral staircase. The design addresses the main challenge of incorporating the new 700-m2 addition whilst respecting the official restrictions the villa and the surrounding landscape were subjected to. The solution was realised and developed by architects Rok Oman and Spela Videcnik through the placing of the newer spaces beneath the ground floor of the existing villa.
Commenced in 2001 and completed in 2004 this is a design that was subject to a restricted brief and the resulting product is outstanding in its creativity.
The starting point was to create something that is not visible. The concept originated in the idea of integrating the new addition under the house and somehow hiding it in the landscape. The shape of the house from a distance blurs with a hilly surrounding. The extension forms a rounded base around the house - 'a pillow covered by the landscape'. The facade of the extension is extensively glazed and provides an impeccable vista of the lake before it. The design brief required for the main living area to be twice its current size and this has been certainly fulfilled. The expansive living area, beautifully paved in wood and organised in a variety of different heights, dominates the ground floor.
Pockets of space are created to give different areas a variety of atmospheres. The floor is organised in levels according to the outside landscape (+/- 50 cm). They were used as a locator and divider of the opened ground level. Preserving the natural landscape has been given much thought with garages being cleverly concealed within the pocket of this volume. The two parts of the house form a unified whole as the new and the existing building are connected with the circular staircase. The staircase plays the role of the main communications core in the house. All rooms and open spaces give onto the staircase and communicate with the main lobby. It emerges not just as a critical circulation core, but as an innovative element of design. Stretching across the levels of the building, its light and fluid form further accentuates the space within.
A limited pallette of materials were utilised throughout the design, namely wood, glass and leather. Every detail within the design is bespoke and beautifully formed. The wooden finish of the interiors attribute a pleasant warmth to it, despite the sharp lines and contemporary feel, it is house that is feels truly liveable.
ARCHITECT: OFIS ARHITEKTI