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"A collage of old and new". A summer house in the Gorce Mountains

25 of January '22
Technical data
Name: Summer house in Gorce mountains
Investor: private
Location: Poland
Studio: exexe
Architects: Ligia Krajewska, Jakub Pstraś
Area: 70 m²
Visualizations: Sebastian Grochowski


  • design
  • implementation


Architects from the {tag:pracownie} studio are known for designing with reference to regional architecture and surrounded by nature. This time they faced a considerable challenge - the reconstruction of an existing 30-year-old summer house located in the Gorce Mountains. The project, despite the use of modern means of expression, refers directly to local forms and traditions of construction. The designers left the massive, foundation made of pebbles and shingles covering the roof and exterior walls.

Dom letniskowy w Gorcach po przebudowie

Characteristic for the project are large glazing and opening to the surroundings

© exexe

The investor approached the exexe studio with a request to transform and "modernize" an existing summer house with a history of more than 30 years. The building required interventions to increase its comfort and improve its technical parameters. Although the architects planned a significant intervention, they sought to preserve the characteristic traditional elements of the house and to bring out the unique scenic qualities. They also decided to leave the massive foundation with its characteristic pebble finish. Within this floor, the technical and economic function was arranged, with the addition of an outdoor kitchen alcove.

Dom letniskowy, rzut parteru

first floor plan

© exexe

The remaining floors - first floor and attic- will be replaced, but the basic division into a living area on the first floor and a night area in the attic remains unchanged. The core of the house is the existing chimney and stove. At the first floor level, there is glazing that opens the interior to light and views surrounding the plot, with direct wide access to the balcony. In terms of functionality, a new element is the exit to the garden from the kitchen area. The structure of the building is made up of a timber frame with visible "V" shaped posts made of glulam, supporting the attic floor.

On the south side, the house reveals a full-width light wooden interior protected by the protruding eaves of the roof. On the southern elevation, the architects left a balcony with a reinforced concrete structure and a considerable overhang, for which they designed a new light balustrade and a smooth terrazzo floor, penetrating into the living area.

Dom letniskowy, stan aktualny

current state of the summer house

photo: exexe

interview with Ligia Krajewska

Dobrawa Bies: Summer House in the Gorce Mountains is a project to remodel an existing house that is more than thirty years old. How do you approach such a challenge?

LigiaKrajewska: Reconstruction is often a controversial topic, due to the nostalgic approach to what exists. Due to the planned major intrusion, we wanted to capture the characteristic elements of the building and bring out new qualities resulting primarily from its location. Our task was to increase the area of the existing building while preserving its height and outline on the south side. Hence the correction of the roof angles, which was allowed by the local plan. In addition to this, it was also necessary to assess the existing substance in terms of the technical feasibility of its continued use. An equally important aspect in the case of redevelopment, is the need to bring the existing condition into compliance with current building regulations.

Dom letniskowy, aksonometria

The architects left the stone foundation, covered the roof and exterior walls with shingles
and used local materials

© exexe

Dobrawa: How do you refer to the traditional forms of local, Podhale construction? Please tell us about what you left out of the old building, the changes made and the materials used.

Ligia Krajewska: In the modern form of the designed building, we tried to preserve certain features of Podhale architecture , i.e. steep shingle roof, stone foundation, and use local, natural materials (wooden structure, stone). We decided to leave the shingles as the material originally forming the roofing, which has already proven itself in this location. Shingles were also used as a finish for the exterior walls.

Also remaining from the old building is the basement - the characteristic foundation finished with pebbles and the old tiled stove, which will be an important element of the interior of the living area. It was necessary to completely replace the reinforced concrete ceiling on the first floor, but we decided to restore the characteristic balcony in its original shape and preserve the stone staircase leading to the entrance. In this way, I think we obtained a kind of collage of the old with the new, creating a coherent whole.

Front domu letniskowego w Gorcach

The designed house will allow you to enjoy moments of relaxation surrounded by nature

© exexe

Dobrawa: Who will be the recipient of the house? How should guests feel here?

Ligia Krajewska: We made the project for a private client, who has been using this place for recreational purposes for years, and it is to remain so. After reconstruction, the building will gain additional space and volume, in line with the new needs, it will be insulated, meeting modern standards, and equipped with modern installations based on renewable energy sources, which will definitely increase the comfort of its use. A new element will be the wide glazing of the corner allowing light into the interior and opening up the daytime space to the dense forest from a vantage point, which was missing from the current form. The designed building, through the solutions used, will provide users with maximum contact with the surrounding nature and allow them to fully enjoy moments of relaxation surrounded by nature.

Dobrawa: Thank you for the interview.

interviewed: Dobrawa Bies

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