Ofis Architects are based in Ljubljana and were formed by Rok Oman and Spela Videcnik in 1998. They specialize in various areas of architecture, one of them being social housing. Honeycomb won the first prize in a competition for designing two social housing blocks in Izola of Slovenia. The brief was to construct buildings of a very low budget for young families and couples, something usual for this type of housing around Europe.
The site is situated on the industrial edge of town Izola, on the Slovenian coast. The entry won the competition for economic reasons and also because of the ratio between gross vs. saleable surface area and the flexibility of the plans. The fact that the architects had designed something pleasing to look at as well as live in was probably overlooked a bit.
The blocks are laid out on a hillside with a view of Izola Bay on one side and of the surrounding hills on the other. Since the blocks are subject to a Mediterranean climate, outdoor space and shade are important elements in their layout. With one veranda for each apartment, each one had instantly an intimate outdoor space which could be part of the interior as well. So the façade was designed in such a way as to protect the loggias from the sun.
To offer nice views towards the sea even when the blinds are closed, the project proposed semi-transparent angled textile shadings. These cover the verandas as a sun-roof and curtain at the same time. The changing rhythm of the balconies creates dynamic elevations and offers privacy to the neighbouring owners.
The balcony modules were designed as an efficient system that provides shading and ventilation for the apartments. The textile elements that were fixed on the front of the balconies block direct sunlight and accumulate towards an “air buffer” zone. In the summer the heat accumulated in the area behind the shadings is naturally ventilated through the perforated side partitions of the balconies. In the winter the warm air provides additional heating to the apartments.
makro 5, d.o.o
kraski zidar d.d.
photo: Tomaž Gregorič