On the fence: a new house in the Czech Republic mirrors its site’s borders

On the fence: a new house in the Czech Republic mirrors its site’s borders

In the outskirts of the Czech city of Pardubice, famous for its traditional production of gingerbread, Liberec-based architecture practice Mjölk has just completed its latest residential project. The 86 sq m, colourful single-family house, positioned on the eastern edge of its plot and orientated perpendicularly to the main road outside, surely cuts a strong presence in its sleepy suburban neighbourhood. 

The low linear volume is composed of smaller units of different materials, shapes and sizes, each housing a distinct function. They are all linked together by a long flat roof, supported by thin steel pillars. This fun and geometric approach is typical of the young firm, which was founded by architecture students in 2008. The studio has since gained many supporters for its experimental attitude; their 2010 guerrilla sauna at the Liberec dam is a case in point.    

The structure conceptually replaces the site’s fence - a gesture that mirrors the plot’s borders and inspired its name. The architects used a blue container as a workshop and storage facility at the front end of the long complex, nestled underneath the flat roof. Its rough industrial aesthetic contrasts the sharper design of the main structure, which is clad in black and white wood planks. A bright red door highlights the entrance.

A small reception hall, the kitchen and one of the bedrooms are enclosed in a white pavilion (entry through the red door), while the living room is revealed behind it, featuring floor to ceiling glazing on both its long sides. The structure’s tallest part, shaped as an archetypal pitched-roof house, is inserted at the far end of the plot and contains one more bedroom and a bathroom downstairs, and the master suite upstairs.  

The interior design’s monochrome purity and minimalism, with smooth polished concrete floors and natural wood cladding, offsets the dark and colourful exterior. Integrated storage in the kitchen and living room adds to the space’s smooth, airy and light feel.  

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