jakub szczęsny organizes podkowa house around trees in poland
photo by radek wojnar
all images courtesy of jakub szczęsny

 

 

 

situated on a triangular shaped property in one of the pre-war garden cities outside of warsaw, the ‘podkowa house’ is carefully arranged around the site’s many existing trees. designed by jakub szczęsny, of the polish architecture collective centrala, the residence includes many internal voids and is elevated about one meter above the ground plane to avoid contact with roots. the necessity to maintain many of the existing trees was partly imposed by local regulations, due to podkowa’s status as a natural and cultural monument.

jakub szczesny centrala podkowa house designboom

the structure’s main level is elevated about one meter above the ground plane
photo by radek wojnar

 

 

 

the design utilized a calculated approach; the layout of the trees was triangulated to produce a network of lines, which were then divided in half by corresponding perpendiculars that created the orientation of internal spaces on the main level. the basement’s rooms are retracted in plan to accommodate the roots’ expansion into the soil.

jakub szczesny centrala podkowa house designboom

a grassy area slopes to connect the outdoor patio with the surround landscape
photo by radek wojnar

jakub szczesny centrala podkowa house designboom

an exterior deck provides breaks in its surface to accommodate for existing trees
photo by radek wojnar

 

 

 

the structure contains a ground floor of 300 sqm, a basement of 150 sqm, and a walkable roof. the main level’s spaces are organized based on day and night activities. the former includes the entry, living, dining, and kitchen areas, while the latter comprises of five bedrooms, three bathrooms, a workroom, and two wardrobes. three outdoor voids break up the interiors, allowing plentiful daylight and maintaining the existing trees’ positions.

jakub szczesny centrala podkowa house designboom

photo by radek wojnar

 

 

 

the flat roof is formed in a way that accommodates the removal of fallen leaves, and includes many skylights to provide illumination to the interior spaces. additionally, a light steel platform ramps to negotiate the change in elevation from the access road to the garage.

jakub szczesny centrala podkowa house designboom

an exterior spiral staircase provides access to the structure’s roof surface
photo by radek wojnar

jakub szczesny centrala podkowa house designboom

the interiors are illuminated partly by various skylights
photo by radek wojnar

jakub szczesny centrala podkowa house designboom

an internal void is shaped around an existing tree
photo by radek wojnar

 

 

 

the interior spaces are all rectangular, with the exception of the central dining room which takes a triangular shape. to accommodate this, a custom convertible table, designed by paweł jasiewicz, fits the irregular area in a number of configurations, and is able to host 8 to 20 people.

jakub szczesny centrala podkowa house designboom

an irregularly shaped table fills the triangular shaped dining area
photo by radek wojnar

jakub szczesny centrala house in podkowa designboom

the dining table is able to take many different configurations
photos by janek lutyk

jakub szczesny centrala house in podkowa designboom

an outdoor dining patio opens up to the forested context
photo by radek wojnar

 

 

 

 

project info:

 

location: podkowa leśna, poland
design period: 2009-2011

construction: 2011-2013
architecture: jakub szczęsny (centrala), ryszard szczęsny (studio deco)

author’s cooperation: tomasz fabirkiewicz
structural design: sławomir pucek, ryszard nalepski
landscape design: robert nowicki (urbandesign)
table design: paweł jasiewicz
murals: maurycy gomulicki
in-situ art installations: kuba bąkowski
contractor: nowy konstancin
photography: radek wojnar