Vernacular escape amidst an idyllic landscape

8. Residential interiors



Izby is a project for an eco resort in central Russia. It is an attempt to rethink the architecture of the what can be called a modern and comfortable rural life. The search for the most energy-efficient solutions has led to researching traditional Russian wooden architecture. It turned out that vernacular serves the purpose better than modern ‘green’ technologies, as the principles of construction are optimal for the climate conditions.

The layout of Izba prescribes a certain lifestyle that is different from the usual modern and urban one, and this lifestyle can be rented together with the house. The "new Izba" uses many of the traditional elements of the interior structure and layout (Russian oven, multifunctional bench stretched along the perimeter of the room), general proportions and placing of windows. But there is also something that traditional izba has never had: a bathroom inside (instead of an outside sauna) and a large bed, which sets a visitor up for a more relaxed rhythm of life.

The project is a multifunctional public building for residents of the eco resort. The residential part of the village comprised of modernized traditional dwellings (izby) and all the other functions — cooking, tea lounge, exercising, etc. — are delegated to public buildings.

Since there were no usual external constraints (e.g. size of the area or ​​existing buildings), the designing process was carried “inside-out”: form followed the function and the room was “built” around the furniture it contained. A dining room combined with a kitchen had to place about 30 guests, so the long communal table defined the elongated rectangular shape of the room. The fireplace room had to be able to accommodate the the same 30 people, so the best solution was to design it as a round yurt with a hearth in the middle. All of the parts of a larger Living Room are connected — they are strung along the the axis of the corridor, parallel to the pond, on the banks of which the building is located.