Kambra / Lucija Penko + Medprostor d.o.o.
Text description provided by the architects. The project is located in the Karst region of Slovenia, where the climate is Mediterranean and the landscape rocky and dry, covered only by endless stretches of vine and pine tree forests.
The old abandoned barn stands in the centre of a small village, its walls curving along the narrow road between the cluster of houses. It appears to have grown out of a rock, facing South-West onto an enclosed garden and over the hills above the city of Trieste.
The refurbishment of the house was approached with thoughtfulness and care, trying to keep as many of the original elements as possible; the stone window and door frames, the oak roof structure, the washed-out facade render and all the ironmongery additions revealing that it was once a home to a cow called Sivka (Lavender). We gave the place a name as well; Kambra, which is the local vernacular word for a multi/purpose room in the ground floor of the traditional Karst house.
In the garden a new-built single storey building is placed to support Kambra’s contemporary function of a cosy holiday retreat. Facing the house it defines the boundaries of a protected courtyard, a re-interpretation of a local typology; the heart of every homestead.
The main materials used throughout the project are elemental and enduring; the concrete base, framed and complemented by black iron detailing is softened by natural oak surfaces wherever tactility is of main importance.
The solidity of the new materials and the treatment of junctions between the old and the new alludes to the passing of time that the house has withstood, celebrating its marks and scars. The concrete used on the inside of the old house strengthens the stone. Outside, the new built structure, cast in exposed concrete, resembles it.
The house slowly changed and weathered through the course of its past 400 years and its continued transformation has served as an inspiration for its renovation. The concrete building will be eventually overgrown with life forms and marked by rainfall. With that it will, like a rock, become a part of the landscape that it currently confronts with its uniformity and sharp form. The process of change will continue to be its architect.