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A modern home for a large family. Smaga Architects Project

18 of May '21
Technical data
Name: House under the rock
Investor: private
Location: Poland, Cracow
Studio: Smaga Architekci
Architects: Maciej Smaga, Mariusz Synowiec
Plot area: 965 m²
Usable area: 368 m²
Building area: 171 m²
Cubic capacity: 1512 m³


  • design
  • implementation


Wola Justowska is one of the greenest districts of Cracow - this is where the House under the Rock by Maciej Smaga and Mariusz Synowiec of Smaga Architekci studio will be built. The design of the modern house naturally blends in with the greenery of the sprawling plot, and with its shape and the finish of the facade it stands out against the background of the neighboring buildings in this Krakow neighborhood.

The house in Wola Justowska consists of three floors, which provide plenty of space for a large family. The lowest floor is occupied by a garage and utility rooms, such as a laundry room or home gym. The first floor houses the living, family rooms: a kitchen with facilities and a pantry, a living room and bathrooms. From here, one also exits through large glass doors to the garden with a terrace and swimming pool. The top floor includes bedrooms, bathrooms and a spacious dressing room.

Dom pod skałą, widok
od strony ogrodu

From the garden, the house opens up with large glazed windows

© Smaga Architects

Dobrawa Bies: What were the assumptions and design inspirations?

Maciej Smaga: The building had to be simple, modern and at the same time made of natural materials. It is open to sunlight and garden space, and perfectly integrated into the landscape of the neighborhood. We created the house with the idea that it should be optimal for a large family: functional, but also inexpensive to build, energy efficient, warm and pleasant to use. We were inspired by houses built in the mountainous, forested areas of Scandinavia and New Zealand.

Dobrawa: The house on the road side gives the impression of an inaccessible, compact block, while it opens up with large glazings on the garden side. Where did this design decision come from?

Maciej Smaga: The house clearly has two faces. When we approach it from the road side, it is inaccessible. However, when we begin to circle the house, the compact body with only one window will open up from the garden side. Large glazing will appear there. We wanted the building to form a clear boundary between the road and the garden. The full facade creates a visual barrier, protecting the privacy of the residents, but also an acoustic one, separating them from outside noises. As a result, the house will provide intimacy and freedom.

Dom pod skałą, PZT Dom pod skałą, przekrój

The large slope of the plot meant that the garage floor is at road level
and the living area was elevated to the height of the garden

© Smaga Architects

Dobrawa: What did the investors expect when they commissioned the project from you?

Maciej Smaga: The investors' wish was a one-story house with a gabled roof. They clearly pointed to our design for the house in Tylicz, because they were captivated by its minimalist and economical body. However, of great importance for the final appearance of the house was the shape of the plot. The large slope meant that we located the garage floor with auxiliary rooms at road level, elevating the living area to the height of the garden. The idea has a good chance of realization also because in this way we will make maximum use of the green space on the forest side.

Dom pod skałą, widok
od strony drogi

The house was to be simple, modern and made of natural materials

© Smaga Architects

Dobrawa: What materials were used and how did their choice influence the form of the building? Did you encounter any design difficulties?

Maciej Smaga: We really wanted the building to blend in with the landscape, so that the boundary between architecture and nature would be as imperceptible as possible. Hence the materials used for its finishing. On the one hand, the concrete basement, which is located right next to the street, and on the other, the wooden facade that looks beautiful against the greenery of the garden and nearby trees.

Many of the design constraints were related to the local plan, and these significantly influenced the original vision. In the end, the clients liked the design and we hope to realize it in the future. The chance that one of the most interesting houses in Krakow will be built is very high, and we are sure that it will fit beautifully into the landscape of the neighborhood.

Dobrawa: Thank you for the interview.

interviewed by Dobrawa Bies

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