Located on one of the five Kharkiv hills, the plot is set amidst low-rise development, with village-like parceling and scarce apartment houses that emerged here at the turn of the XIX-XX centuries. The plot is located right in front of the central hill, with a railroad running along the valley between the hills. The place enjoys a generous view of the city center, as well as the nearby church.
Consisting of three independent units, the house explores the balance between the private and the communal, where each member of the family has their own autonomous space. The representatives of the younger generation have their own studios with independent access and their own private terraces. The communal living space with a “summer living-room” is the core of the house, serving as a place for family integration and socialization.
A nearly three-meter difference in topography made it possible to locate the entrance, utility rooms and the garage on the ground level. All the main premises are placed on the higher level aligned with the garden. As a result the whole house lies on the same level with the exception of a small roof-top pavilion overlooking the church and the city downtown. The pavilion also serves as an observation point, a study, a guest room and a skylight for the premises below. A solid volume of the house that floats on the landscape, as well as the principle of family cooperation, explain the name of the house, which is “Ark”.
Compositionally, the plot is clearly divided into two zones: the garden and the house. Different types of spaces are created in order to celebrate the advantages of living close to nature, suggesting a variety of scenarios of experiencing the garden as an integral part of living environment. To start with, there is a semi-open deck of the terrace, integrated with the communal living room, with a swimming pool, a lounge zone and a barbecue spot. Besides, there is an open ground for active games in front of the terrace, and a more private area further in the garden. A small gangway provides an immediate access from the house into the garden. Furthermore, there is a lawn in the back of the house which can be accessed from the master bedroom, suggesting a pleasant experience of welcoming the rising sun in the morning.
The main façade has a south-western exposure. The house enjoys favorable sunrays from the east, which is especially important in winter. In the lunch hour, the overhanging roof of the terrace protects the communal space of the house from the hot afternoon sun.
Structurally, the main volume consists of three consecutive parts united by the entrance gallery that follows the landscape reaching the main level. The core of the house is a living room integrated with a summer terrace by means of sliding doors. Apart from a small isolated kitchen, there is also an additional kitchen-island in the living room. The vast space of the communal premises receives additional lighting from the roof-top pavilion.
The comprehensive solid look of the house is emphasized by its horizontal wooden skin, whose dark color makes an exciting contrast with the white “filling”. Besides, the lattice structure provides protection from the excessive sunlight: depending on the time of day and season, the shutters serve as blinds, regulating the incoming sun and the sightlines.
The interior design is based on unplastered exposed brick which is the main building material of the house. The number of decorative elements is reduced to a minimum. The interior design concept relies mainly on visual sightlines.
On the whole, the house is an organic combination of traditional architectural features of the north and of the Mediterranean region. This is rather in keeping with the current situation, when the climate changed has made summers in this part of the world increasingly long and warm.