ERA21 #04/2022 Family Houses Today

kniha editorial

Family Houses Today

Hana Lesáková

» entire article

kniha completed project

The Art of Transformation. Zenger Electrical Substation Transformed to Art Museum in Prague »

Jan Schindler, Ludvík Seko, Zuzana Drahotová / Schindler Seko architekti

At a prime location in the Prague city centre, just across Old Castle Stairs in Malá Strana, a new contemporary art gallery Kunsthalle Praha was opened in 2022. The former Zenger Electrical Substation building was transformed entirely for the new purpose. The 1930s substation, which actually replaced an even older building of the Bruska Barracks, had a modern, industrial interior hidden behind an unassuming neo-classical facade. The conversion chose a similar approach—preserving the historical frontier due to heritage requirements, but reorganising the interior gallery spaces in a completely new way. Conference rooms, education spaces, a cafe with a terrace, and a ground-floor art shop complement the three separate exhibition halls.

» entire article

House V »

Tomáš Pospěch

In 1966, construction began on the first ever type V family home in Rapotín near Šumperk. Designed by civil engineer Josef Vaněk, it drew inspiration from several earlier projects by different architects. Colloquially known as “šumperák”, it went on to become a nationwide phenomenon and the most widespread type of family house in Czechoslovakia. People both loved and hated šumperák. It fitted the idea of modern and country living of the time, but it was written off as kitsch; architects doubted if it was indeed architecture. Heritage protection institutions feared it would taint the character of Czech villages. Nowadays, šumperák reminds us of a time when after decades of social realism, architecture in Czechoslovakia was slowly returning to modernism, and when hiring an architect or buying a turnkey build was simply not an option.


A House for a Family Is Like Clothes for an Individual? »

Petr Kubala

Is family, or family living, something intrinsically natural and constant? Can we imagine family as a type of social-material constellation resistant to all and every historical change past, present and future? Let's assume a different perspective and challenge the prevailing idea of family as a solid, almost biologically given entity. Let's try to blur the boundary between social and material. This can be done based on a rough historical sketch, outlining the repeated rediscoveries of family cohabitation in pre-modern, modern and the late modern period.


A House as Self-Promotion. Rusty House, Eighteen Years Later »

Alžběta Nováková

“Since I built the house, I used it partly for self-promotion,” says the owner and architect Luděk Rýzner of his Rusty House in Humpolec as he takes us inside. An early project of Rýzner, Rusty House was designed as a sort of showroom for his studio OK PLAN ARCHITECTS.


Nice and Easy. Villa in Černošice, Twenty-Three Years Later »

Hana Lesáková

While lacking a waterfall of its own, the Czech variation on Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater House succeeds in emulating the iconic building’s general character. Planes of light-coloured wood and brick alternate in the generous free-flowing space while the cool woodland hums gently behind the windows, and light filters in through the leaves.


Golden Straw. House With a Fur Coat and an Umbrella, Twenty Years Later »

Hana Lesáková

The so-called Straw House by architect Petr Suske and his SEA studio got quite an enthusiastic reception in Czech architectural circles upon its completion almost twenty years ago. The design concept, based on the simple yet original idea of “a haystack with an umbrella”, combined the earthy feeling of natural materials with a certain lightness of high-tech architecture. Immediately establishing itself as the go-to inspiration source for architecture students, the house became a popular subject for various magazine articles, much to the owner’s increasing exasperation


Slippery Slope. Villa Hermína, Fourteen Years Later »

Filip Landa

Still considered a unique conceptual experiment, the design for this pink villa is drawn from the slope of the site’s natural terrain with tilted floors inside the house. Obviously, the question on everyone's mind was: What's it like to live in a home where two-thirds of all floorspace is inclined?


A Garden Inside a House. EggO House, Seventeen Years Later »

Alžběta Nováková

This single-story home with an egg-shaped inner courtyard can be found near Chmelnice in Prague’s Žižkov, where modernist housing projects meet garden city urban structure. Just across the street from a towering eight-story apartment block, the privacy of the supposedly tranquil garden was often questioned. But walking down the street, there’s almost no sign suggesting the presence of any kind of family home. The overgrown perimeter wall might get the attention of passersby, but the house by itself stays hidden completely.


Trees All Around. The Crystal House, Fifteen Years Later »

Filip Landa

A reinforced-concrete modular crystal is planted on the side of the hill in Černošice near Prague. This unusual home design raises the living area above the neighbour’s roofs to provide an undisturbed view of the Berounka river valley. Even though the house may appear somewhat extravagant initially, it blended in naturally, over time, with its forest-like garden.

kniha interview

Seeing Every Commission Through the Clients’ Eyes. Ján Stempel and Jan Jakub Tesař Interviewed by ERA21 »

Family home designs often make up the bulk of the work portfolio in smaller architecture studios or individual architect's practices. However, only a few studios can boast such a long list of built projects and extensive experience with this typology as Prague-based Stempel & Tesař architekti. In conversation with professor Ján Stempel and his colleague Jan Jakub Tesař, twenty years his junior, we contemplate the theory and practice of individual living and the (non)existence of trends.

» entire article
completed project

Everything Will Happen. Extension and Renovation of a Workers Colony House in Brno »

Hana Horáková, Radim Horák / KAMKAB!NET

The architects’ home in Brno’s Stone Colony, or Kamenka, underwent a significant renovation that modernised the house to meet modern living requirements, brought light into the tight and dark rooms, and built extensions that increased usable floor area from a mere 60 sq.m to almost double. The design avoided raising the roof to get more space and stayed true to the small-scale character of the whole neighbourhood. Instead, it filled in parts of the back garden. The original building volume is manifested in contrasting white-washed walls and dark metal roofing, while the new extensions have exterior brick cladding and extensive flat green roofs.

completed project

Courtyard Symbiosis. Family Home in Nové Město na Moravě »

Jan Pačka, Igor Šimon, Radek Fila / IGLOO ARCHITEKTI

In Nové Město na Moravě town centre, a new extension was built inside a town-house courtyard to serve as a temporary residence for a family of four. The family’s expectation is to one day live here permanently. This neighbourhood has one of the best preserved original historical settlement structures with narrow and deep plots. The plot in discussion slopes down towards the southeast. The site geometry, orientation and context were all considered for the design of the new extension. Eventually, a location along the northeastern boundary wall was chosen, between existing old stables and a barn, left empty after a demolished utility building.

completed project

One in Two. Two Houses Adapted for Family Living in Trhové Sviny »

Jiří Weinzettl, Barbora Weinzettlová / Atelier 111 architekti

Two neighbouring properties were joined together to create a family home—the project architect’s own home—near Kozinovo náměstí in Trhové Sviny. Some significant alterations had already been made to one of the properties about twenty years previously; the other was derelict. The adaptation removed undesirable recent additions and elements, like the large roof dormer with a balcony or the UPVC windows. Original stonework and small historical fragments were uncovered after removing the outer layers of the walls. The basic shape, scale and materiality of the original volumes were preserved. The building is now accessible from two opposite sides (pedestrians from the square and cars from the street), and the new interior layout adapted to that.

completed project

Whitewashed House. Family House Renovation in Humpolec »


The common enough practice of cleaning up the layout and purging of formal accretions, seen across the board in architecture remodels, was taken to the next level in this renovation of a family home (initially built in 2006): a layer of uniform white paint was applied to the whole building, from top to bottom. The renovation also focused on improving the layout and circulation inside the house, optimising the house heating system, and designing a new garden complete with a patio.


Renovation Options for Standardized Family Houses »

This spring, the Slovak Environment Agency issued an idea competition for renovating typical family homes built here in the second half of the 20th century. The competition focused on the three most common standard home types, called “the square”, “the cube”, and “orava”. The aim was to find new design options for adaptations, extensions or transformations of these home types and, simultaneously, ensure the result would meet current living and energy efficiency requirements. Understandably, the future character of the house with added thermal insulation layers was a critical point. The competition announcement was closely connected to the recently released Slovakia’s Recovery and Resilience Plan (a strategic document designed to combat the economic and social effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the main pillar of the European recovery plan, NextGenerationEU).



Urban Lighting Masterplan: A Case Study

Petr Žák


Fenestration, Fittings and Glazing Maintenance

Roman Šnajdr


Thermally Separated Window Installation

Pavel Kasal, Jiří Novák


Ventilation in Homes and the Role of Bathrooms

Olga Rubinová

ERA21 vydává ERA Média, s. r. o.
Chleborádova 69/22, 619 00 Brno

Phone: +420 530 500 801
Projekt se v roce 2023 uskutečňuje za finanční podpory: Ministerstva kultury ČR, Nadace české architektury a Státního fondu kultury ČR.
Copyright ©2004-2023 ERA Média, s.r.o
Použití článků a fotografií nebo jejich částí je bez souhlasu vydavatele zakázáno.

Information about cookies on this page

To get an idea of what you like to read, we use cookies on the website, which we process in accordance with the privacy policy. If you want to let us know what you are interested in, please give your consent to the processing of all types of cookies.


Cookie settings

The cookies that are used on this site are divided into categories and below you can find out more about each category and allow or deny some or all of them. Once you disable categories that were previously enabled, all cookies associated with that category will be deleted from your browser.