House in Opatova

Trencin – Opatova, Slovakia
Design 2006-8, Completed 2010

Family house is situated on the edge of trapezoid-shaped site of area intended for development of individual and collective housing. It’s inhabitants are young couple, planning to build a family in close future.

The volume of the house is of prismatic shape of roughly 15x7x10 metres, sliced in two inclining planes in relation to internal programme utilization.

Inspired by the traditional Slovak cottage, kitchen and dining area lies in the very centre of the house, however in visual and functional contact with almost all other spaces.

House in Opatova

Unintended landmark

White prismatic volume truncated by two oblique cuts of the roof, it is clearly visible from far distance.

The house stands on the southern edge of Opatová, previously independent settlement on northern periphery of the county town Trenčín. Even despite quite a lot of new-comers, Opatová is a still place with rather strong local consciousness and live social bounds, where being part of it still plays its role.

The assignment for design of the house was quite conventional. Young couple, planning a family of four with restricted budget possibilities requiring  space to park a car or bike, exterior terrace, piece of green or small patch to grow own vegetable, with one exception: clients were not able to identify them-self more or less uniform taste for all-around-the-country-popular “catalogue house”.

Differences to mentioned trends are visible on first glance. House was formed by awareness of sustainable behaviour, part of which is longitudinal west-east plan orientation that together with facade composition makes best use of low winter sun that provides sufficiency of winter solar gains. On the contrary, large well insulated northern face of the house is almost blank, securing only minimal natural illumination for internal circulation. As partly conscious side effect of this approach are beautiful window-framed scenes of omnipresent distant landmark of Trenčín castle or surrounding ever changing nature.

The roof shape determines the spatial qualities of internal spaces that vary in height from 1.3 to almost 8.5 meters in crest. This gives the possibilities for future extensions of some of them, e.g. one of the kids-room will become a duplex by adding a simple timber platform that will increase usable space of this room by almost 2/3.

Structure of the house is rather traditional. Brickwork of vertical walls, in-situ poured concrete foundation and horizontal floor constructions, carpentry and tinsmith of the roof, compound thermal insulation with white rendering, together all makes good use of the local craftsmanship resources.

The internal programme of the house is divided to its own public and private. The public, including dining and main living room, is located on the ground floor. More intimate and private spaces house second floor. However, those two realms don’t stand strictly apart. They are interconnected by large void above kitchen that brings them together. Independent on actual position, one can sense the activity elsewhere, without disturbing its privacy.

Hopefully this house will play its role in bringing hint of new local identity to the neighbourhood that is planned to be continuously filled with mostly detached family houses. Of course, ignoring prevailing conventions on how new house should look, as this one does, put its inhabitants at risk of being socially disadvantaged.  However, the owner plans to plant more plumb trees around the front edge of the plot that will, among other, secure sufficient resources for traditional local spirit. This, together with the fact that he as well as architect were grown in Opatová, might help to enhance social acceptance of this unintended landmark.

René Dlesk

(this article was published in Zeppelin Magazinne issue 100)

House in Opatova

Trencin – Opatova, Slovakia
Design 2006-8, Completed 2010

Private Client Client


960 sqm Site area

152 sqm Building area

140 sqm (possibility of further extensions) Total Floor area


2 stories Scale

Masonry Structure


René Dlesk, Roy Nash Design Architect

Michael Franke Collaboration

Ján Malast (Malastav s.r.o.) Structural Engineer

Energy Concept s.r.o. Physics

Ľubomír Majtán Project Management

Milan Blaško Site Supervision

Ferdinand Papiernik (F – Stav) General Contractor

GALLO spol. s r.o.Timber roof-structure

Martin Čomor Photography

P-U-R-A Digital Imaging

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