House 1408 by STUDIO 1408

Situated in Balotesti, Romania, this two-story brick residence has been recently completed by STUDIO 1408.

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The first time we visited the site, the location is absolutely impressive.

It is a beautiful meadow surrounded by an old forest with huge oak trees.

We asked ourselves “How do we design a house that compliments the surroundings but does not overshadow them?”, and “What exactly makes a house great?”.

There are a thousand possible answers to this question but not one that is absolutely right or wrong.

We feel the most important answer in this situation is to create a meaningful connection to the special surroundings, a connection to nature and the community, and this belief has shaped the whole project.

We designed the house around this comfortable exterior space, a loggia with beautiful views on two opposite sides, yet protected from wind and rain which makes it comfortable to use in all seasons.

It is a space big enough to hold a dinner for twelve, yet cozy enough for just one person reading a book on a rainy day. We imagined these moments and designed the spaces to hold them.

The corner lot is a particularly difficult lot, as it requires a six-meter retreat from both streets leaving a narrow strip as the buildable area.

To emphasize this corner land, we designed a long brick wall that develops a controlled intimacy for the spaces of the ground floor.
On this brick wall, the stone bench has a symbolic significance. Most of us live in disconnected, unfriendly neighborhoods so it is difficult to feel we are part of a community.

In rural communities in Romania there is a bench in front of every house where people would gather and connect with each other.
So, this bench is exactly that, an invitation to the neighbors, a place for community and friendship.

The staircase, the sculptural element of the house, takes us to the night spaces that we envisioned as a nest, that sits protected on the brick wall, completing the symbolism of the house.

Photography by Cosmin Dragomir

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- by Matt Watts