UNITING FORM, FUNCTION AND AESTHETICS WITH NATURE
Located between a forest and a lake, this single storey residence in Romania unites form with function in communion with nature. Designed by its owner, architect Razvan Oprescu of LLOX Architecten, solid walls support a roof terrace that appears to float over free flowing interior spaces and a spectacular expanses of glazing oriented towards the water. Inspired by the works of modernist master architect Mies van der Rohe, the house is a fitting contemporary example of Van der Rohe’s ‘Less is More’ principle.
On the lakefront of Buftea, situated near his childhood home in Romania, Razvan Oprescu decided to build a multifunctional home to serve his family, including three teenage children. Occupying a site of 3200 m2, the house has a total floor area of 560 m2 and a complex programme of uses that includes an infinity pool, basketball court and home cinema. Oprescu explains that the design of the house had to be extremely functional in order to accommodate the different uses and allow for parties and entertaining, whilst providing privacy and a sense of connection to the natural surroundings for each member of the family.
The influence of the ‘Less is More’ principle
Throughout the design process, Oprescu was inspired by Mies van der Rohe and the ‘Less is More’ principle evident in simple yet fascinating masterworks such as the glass and steel Farnsworth House, which is famed for its strong horizontal planes, fluid floor plan and floor-to-ceiling glazing that opens the interior up to its natural surroundings.
Oprescu’s design for the house clearly draws from this precedent with a series of horizontally oriented solid walls supporting a 700 m2 roof terrace that seems to float over the expansive floor space below, freeing the interior by allowing for clear thresholds and unfragmented spaces. Built over a single level, all areas of the house are fully accessible, while at the same time offering distance between rooms and thus the needed privacy for each member of the family. Large windows and expanses of glazing streamline the transition from interior to exterior spaces, offering a feeling of freedom, continuity and connection with nature.
Interior organization affords connections to nature
The social centre of the house consists of the living room, dining room, kitchen and home cinema, summing up a total of 190 m2. The central element, the one that provides unity, is a large 70 m2 glazed façade offering views towards the lake from any of the spaces in this area. The living and dining rooms are visually separated by a chimney block, which respects the principles by which the house was envisioned by allowing movement on both sides, thus ensuring a fluid floor plan.
The kitchen area is organized around a 4.8 m long island and gives direct access to the patio. The other five rooms of the house, each with its own bathroom, are strategically located. The master bedroom and office are located near the social centre of the house. The three bedrooms for the children are attached to this area by a long hallway, which affords privacy, but at the same time accessibility. All four bedrooms enjoy superb views over the lake, while the office is overlooking the woods.
The Reynaers systems that were used are fitted with triple glazing and are somewhat new to the Romanian construction industry
New technical solutions realise design ambitions
With views and indoor to outdoor connections central to the design, the house features an impressive 130 m2 of glazing. The Reynaers systems that were used are fitted with triple glazing and are somewhat new to the Romanian construction industry. Oprescu explains: ‘The architecture and technical construction solutions I chose are not usual in Romania. Therefore, the construction of the house, with its very large spaces and lack of pillars, along with the very high exigencies in terms of attention to detail, were my biggest challenges. I found a reliable partner in the contractor of the house, who had the openness, the intelligence and the pleasure to discover new solutions.’ Oprescu refers in particular to the glazing profile systems used, being CS 77 for the windows and doors, a CP 130 sliding door and the CW 50 façade overlooking the lake. The sliding door in the kitchen is a striking feature that provides additional comfort. It has an opening corner that allows the ceiling to be extended towards the outside, creating a covered terrace.
Tranquility from indoors to outdoors
The texture and colours of materials and finishes specified for the house emphasise its connection with its natural surroundings. Natural Vratza limestone was used on the façade as well as on the interior and exterior floors. The bathtubs, the finishing on the bathroom walls and an island in the main bathroom are made of natural stone. The parquet flooring installed in the bedrooms and the home cinema room is of oiled multilayered oak.
Outdoors, an exterior liner type pool measuring 12.5m x 4.2 is nestled into the landscape, creating an ‘infinity pool’.
The garden is geometrically divided into two main areas, each clearly delineated by its finish. The lake part is covered with grass, and the forest-facing part, which also facilitates the entry to the property, is finished with limestone gravel of the same colour as the façade. The uniformity of colours and textures and alignment of the plane trees that surround the property offer a sensation of quietness and safety.