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Houses inscribed into a steep slope. Gdynia Transmodern House designed by Studio 111

28 of January '21
Technical data
Name: Gdynia Transmodern House
Location: Poland, Gdynia
Studio: Pracownia 111
Design team:

Tomasz Miąskiewicz, Miłosz Stopiński, Rafał Nakielski, Dominika Dubasiewicz

Usable area:

530+335 m²


  • conceptual and construction design
  • executive and interior design



In the picturesque villa district of Kamienna Gora, located on a hill in the eastern part of Gdynia, whose historic buildings are listed in the register of monuments, architects from Studio 111 designed two, detached single-family houses forming a cohesive residential complex - the Gdynia Transmodern House.

Designing on a hilltop plot with a panoramic view of the sea and the city center, the architects had to face not only the steep slope of the site, but also planning restrictions. The northeastern exposure of the slope and the slope towards the sea allowed for picturesque views, while the southwestern part facing the main street, due to the density of the development, required solutions that would provide privacy for residents without sacrificing optimal views and sunshine.

The project includes two single-family houses following the relief of the land - the upper one, complementing the street frontage, and the lower one, located in the northeastern part of the plot.


cross section

© Pracownia 111

The more exposed upper house became the starting point for shaping the entire composition. According to the investor's assumption, the house was to be contemporary and original, the local plan, in turn, required the designed development to dialogue with the historical context, to refer to the existing fabric through architectural and material solutions. The designers, in turn, wanted this dialogue to be conducted on a deeper level than purely stylistic.

widok to green roofs and terraceswidok to green roofs and terraceswidok to green roofs and terraces

view of green roofs and terraces

vision: Blok Studio © Studio 111

functional modernism

Gdynia's modernism, designers note, has its own local dimension, quality and wisdom based on a pragmatic approach to space. The buildings of Gdynia's Kamienna Gora mostly consist of balanced, simple and modest structures.

Single cuboids or compositions of two, maximum three interlocked cubicles predominate. Some of them are delicately deconstructed in the entrance zone or enriched with added secondary forms. Sometimes one of the component solids is given a rounded, streamlined corner. The forms are often dynamized by the asymmetrical composition of windows, arranged in bands and rhythms. The innovative style is clear, but it is not flashy. The historic houses of Kamienna Gora were built with a sense of proportion and in the modern spirit of the time, but they were never intended to be modernist manifestos, writes Tomasz Miąskiewicz of Pracownia 111.

In addition to the search for the right form, the architects also focused on choosing the right material to build a house distinguished by its noble structure, and at the same time being a creative continuation of Gdynia construction. Inspired by the ceramic decorations on the facades of historic buildings, they reached for the Petersen Columbus hand-formed brick developed by Peter Zumthor, juxtaposing it with glass bricks.

elewacja upper houseelewacja upper houseelewacja upper house

elevation of the upper house

vision: Blok Studio © Studio 111

Both of the proposed materials are on the one hand thoroughly contemporary, and on the other - they carry a certain old-fashioned, noble imperfection, which characterizes only materials produced by classical methods. [...] the proposed combination of extremely natural, richly colored and structurally hand-formed bricks with the strong and synthetic body of the house will make it possible to achieve an effect combining the two most important postulates: the power of expression and sincerity of modern architecture, and the connection with historic forms - simple, but far from austerity and radicalism," the architect adds.

Elements of small architecture and lintel finishes will be made of colored architectural concrete or, like metalwork elements, will be painted black.

elewacja of the lower houseelewacja of the lower houseelewacja of the lower house

elevation of the lower house

vision: Blok Studio © Studio 111

minimalist solids inscribed into the slope

Inscribed into the sculpture of the slope, the minimalist blocks in a terraced, cascading layout are covered with flat, green roofs. The façade of the upper house, although seemingly closed, is fully glazed in the first floor section, allowing light into the living room, while the openwork wall of the first floor provides light during the day and privacy after dark.

The three-story upper house is divided into four zones - living, night, technical and spa.

An extended underground floor houses an extensive parking area and a relaxation area and gym. The central circulation core consists of a staircase and elevator shaft. The first floor plan, contained within the dimensions of the elevations specified in the local plan, is a projection almost entirely free of permanent divisions. The entrance to the house, located in the northwest corner, is withdrawn, creating a small entrance arcade. By basing the first floor on pillars, it is possible to surround the first floor with glazing of delicate design in order to completely open up the interior to the surrounding space of the house. In this way, the living area located here receives good sunlight and an unobstructed panoramic view of the sea. The first floor consists of three rooms, located on the sea side. This side of the elevation is therefore completely glazed in the upper part as well. The three other floor-level elevations, surrounding the communication and bathrooms, provide privacy for residents by providing the necessary amount of light through slit windows. A large roof glazing is responsible for illuminating the stairwell and the surrounding circulation area. The west elevation of the first floor acts as an openwork screen, isolating the interior of the house from the street and enlivening the interior of the house with a play of light, the architect describes.

cegła Petersen Kolumba z
domów rozpościera się panoramiczny widok na morze i centrum miasta

vision: Blok Studio © Pracownia 111

experimental reinterpretation of modernism

As the authors of the project emphasize, the proposed blocks are not historicizing architecture, although ideologically they draw on the postulates of modernist trends: International style through an open-plan glazed first floor, expansive terraces extending the first floor plan or a floor structure based on delicate columns; cubic functionalism through bright, simplified masses of houses; streamline style, where small architecture together with the masses of the main buildings creates strongly horizontal, dynamic compositions with splayed elements. To these inspirations the architects added another - the houses of professors of the Bauhaus school in Dessau in effect creating, as they write, the Gdynia Transmodern House - a bridge between the interpretation of the well-known postulates of modernism (not only of Gdynia, but also of international modernism) and its contemporary, experimental reinterpretation (through, among other things, an attempt to develop modernist assumptions using modern technologies available today).

compiled by:
Ola Kloc

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