„Build a house the way you like!”

„Build a house the way you like!”
A single-family house with workplace

text: Mihai ENE, Adela ENE
Images: Ene+Ene Arhitectură

Architectural design: Ene+Ene Arhitectură – arch. Mihai Ene, arch. Adela Ene
Structural design: Profesional Construct – eng. Paul Ioan
Facilities: Alma Instal Pro – eng. Adrian Sandu
Client: Loreco Investments
Surface area: 280 sqm

„Build a house the way you like” – this was the theme of the architecture competition in Dumbrava Vlăsiei that we were invited to participate at; the only constraints were the local urban planning regulation and a budget limit. For an architect, this is the kind of moment he had been always dreaming about, but when it finally comes, he surprisingly realizes that the absence of impositions results into a deceptive trap. The lack of any spatial, morphological, historical or cultural guiding marks characterizing the interventions in a completely new neighbourhood, the ground zero of its becoming, is sometimes a more important setback than it may seem at first sight, when it comes to launching and working on the architecture design process. Hence, the lack of limits generates self-censorship, the representation and conscious appropriation of a personal set of impositions. So we designed a house taking our own family as a model.

The first request referred to a house developed at the ground floor level, allowing for more than a visual contact with the courtyard, each space having access to the exterior while keeping a discrete relationship with the street front. A linear spatial development, perpendicular to the street, a series of spatial sequences adjusted to the functional necessities assigned to each of them. In order to provide as much interior free space as possible, the rooms are separated through standard depth „functional walls” containing furniture and equipment – from cupboards and shelves to kitchen countertops. Two exterior courtyards break off the linearity of the house: one signals the access and the other, more generous, establishes a relation to the kitchen and the dining area. The house is divided in two areas, a section facing the street, dedicated to daytime activities and defined by spatial fluidity and a withdrawn one, facing the opposite side, hosting the night area and offering intimacy.

A possible landmark was what is sometimes disdainfully called „wagon house”, with a morphology characteristic of the rural area in question and which, despite its apparent simplicity, has a spatial potential yet insufficiently exploited in contemporary architecture.

Dumbrava Vlăsiei is emerging as an atypical residential neighbourhood in the context of Romanian real estate development. Surrounded by the woods, benefitting from a landscape urbanism approach, with serpentine streets and green public spaces and having plots with specific shapes and sizes, Dumbrava Vlăsiei is growing into a special place and this can already be seen from what has been built to date. There is a project for a remarkably large and complex public park located at the very centre of the new neighbourhood. All the specific facilities, the urban furniture, the roadway, the sidewalks, the kerbs, street drainage and street lighting are taken into account as early as the project phase and are rigorously executed. The absence of fences delimiting the properties in relation to the street and to the other plots represents yet another feature of the neighbourhood which confers an original touch of tranquillity and safety. The green spaces designed by landscape architects and comprising carefully selected species of shrubs, trees and turf represent important elements contributing to the high quality standard of the built space. A landscape urbanism deliberately avoiding the straight line, both for access ways and plots, customizes each place and gives character, conveying the feeling that the development was carried out in a natural manner, over a long period of time.



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