A family that unites the extremes of the global world: a Russian/American couple, she with a career in Moscow, he in New York, and their - not two or three, but - eight children. In search of neutral terrain, in which they would make a safe nest for venturing out into the world, they arrived in remote and almost forgotten places above the valleys of the Soča, Idrijca and Čepovans dol. The Banj plateau, a dry karst landscape of pastures on the border between the Mediterranean and the Alpine world, characterized by the typical stone folk architecture of sparse features and slate roofs, convinced them, and they bought an old homestead in Kanalski Lom, hoping to live there and build a new home. The refined stone structure of the old buildings was the basis for OFIS architects and they began to convince the cosmopolitan couple to preserve and integrate the two stone houses, which were otherwise not protected as monuments, into the new whole. Not many words were needed, the clients, who chose this part of the Slovenian Posočje from all possible places (a location in Bohinj was also included in the final selection), knew how to appreciate the simple richness of the heritage of these places and enthusiastically approached the renovation. Thus began a long and challenging project that the architects say was almost as much sociological as it was architectural. In addition to large cultural differences, purely material ones had to be overcome, and these were a challenge even for Slovenian contractors who were reluctant to work in such a remote location, accessible only by a narrow road. The preserved stone buildings underwent a radical renovation and static strengthening with wall injection and reinforced concrete connections. In fact, the whole structure works as a skeleton construction, which is strengthened horizontally by new concrete slabs. The existing buildings were connected and upgraded with a new entrance wing, which in design is connected to the vernacular tradition, and like the other new parts, it is made of contemporary materials. With the gray tone of the facade panels, it approaches but visually subordinates the stone, while the interior is dominated by wood, which creates a warm contrast to the old walls. Here, too, they are partly exposed, and partly a visible concrete wall steps into the foreground. The interior design is simple made by massive elements, in keeping with the character of the old houses.
The stone house answers the dilemma "old or new", which is actually not a dilemma at all. With modern solutions, thoughtful details and a responsible attitude, the old and the new can continue the tradition together - because there really is no other way.
Matevž Granda (Outsider)
Rok Oman, Špela Videčnik, Andrej Gregorič, Janez Martinčič
José Navarrete Jiménez, Chiara Girolami, Katharina Felix, Sara Carciotti, Mariangela Fabbri, Ariane Micard
Structural engineering: Project PA d.o.o.
Mechanical engineering: Vavtar inženiring d.o.o.
Electrical engineering: Elektro projektiva d.o.o.