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Playful home sits discreetly within traditional Czech facade

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Words:
Jan-Carlos Kucharek

There’s a spiritual sort of philosophy about Studio Circle Growth’s house Casa de Mi Luna, which adopts local style, sustainable materials – and fun

There’s something of ‘the Rudolfs’ to Casa de Mi Luna in Karlštejn, Czechia (Czech Republic) – not the red-nosed reindeer but Steiner the social reformer esotericist and sometime architect. And though architect Martin Žižka cut his teeth at Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron, his aim at his Prague design and build firm Studio Circle Growth and Terra Sylva Construction is to sustainably touch the earth lightly with ecological design and materials – all done by his own hand.

On the edge of the Český Kras nature reserve overlooking the Berounka valley, south west of the capital, this home for a decamping Prague family seeks to respect the area’s building traditions while being discreetly playful both structurally and spatially.

  • Credit: Fredrik Frendin
  • Credit: Fredrik Frendin
  • Credit: Fredrik Frendin
  • Credit: Fredrik Frendin
  • Credit: Fredrik Frendin
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The home has been built using EcoCocon prefabricated straw and timber stud cassette panels which were brought to site and quickly assembled on pad foundations, finished externally using lime render and local larch weatherboarding. With the roof adopting the local ‘bobrovka’ technique of rounded clay tiles and curved eaves, perhaps it’s these details that intimate the house’s anthroposophical nature. Such organic curves continue internally too, with the arched soffit of the roof the result of a novel way of connecting rafters – the practice using arched collar ties made of formed plywood. This curve is emphasised with either a kaolin plaster or pine ply soffit that also forms the walls.

  • Credit: Fredrik Frendin
  • Credit: Fredrik Frendin
  • Credit: Fredrik Frendin
  • Credit: Fredrik Frendin
  • Credit: Fredrik Frendin
  • Credit: Fredrik Frendin
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The central part of the house is in effect a single space, dominated by its timber feature stair offset on the diagonal, creating surprising angles and relationships between open plan spaces at ground that allude internally to Steiner’s ninety-degree-free forms. And just as Rudolf would like, a ceramic-tiled hearth forms the heart of the home, not just creating direct heat, but warming the back boiler's hot water, which runs in subdermal pipes within the kaolin clay plaster walls to  counterpoint the fiery stove with a subtle ‘moon bathe’ of radiant heat across its interior walls when needed.

Despite being an orthogonal work, it transpires the home is subtly in keeping with Steiner’s thinking: ‘The smallest thing in its rightful place can lead to the highest goals.’

 

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