House on Normafa is a single family residence for the worldly famous professional photographer, Tomasz Gudzowaty. It is located in the hill along Normafa Street on the sloping terrain in the Svab Hill, on the border of the Nature Protected Area of Buda, about 5 kilometers west from the city center of Budapest, Hungary. Normafa area is one of the most prestigious residential districts in Budapest, today, and the plot is the last largest property in such a beautiful environment rich in magnificent beech trees of over 200 years old.
About the site, the average gradient of terrain is 1/4 sloping up to the south from the Normafa Street level, and there are at least twenty large trees which should be protected as many as possible according to the regional regulation. In order to maintain the good environment for both preserving nature and keeping distances among neighbors, the building area is also strictly restricted less than 262 square meters (10% of the site area), total floor area less than 473 square meters, the set-back regulations to site borders, maximum height less than 6.5 meter from the ground level with some mitigations, and the use of materials in textures and colors.
When I first visited the site, I felt some difficulty in designing a large mass of building on the hill because big trees are evenly situated. As a result, I tried to apply the schematic method when I designed Gallery in Kiyosato. I considered the building are composed of 4 slender cores, standing in the intervals of those trees, which functions as both structures for supporting the whole buildings and containers for making small rooms. Between the cores, main spaces are set in place by transparent glass walls.
From the Normafa Street, vehicles can approach into the garage at the northwest corner, from where one can select two different ways to the house. One is to reach small passages in the big garden and walk around with appreciating nature up to the main entrance. The other is for rainy days to go up the entrance level directly by the straight stairs in the first core ? at the far west ? from the garage inside. The main entrance is contained in the second core, where one can see the water fall to the south, go to stairs to the north, and enter the living room in straight on the same level. The living room is designed by a combination of 2 story high large space and 1 story high galleries attached from the east side.
On the first floor on the south, toilet is in the second core, pantry in the third, kitchen with a small dining and dining hall are in-betweens; and a guest room is at the fourth ? the core in the east end. On the second floor, roof garden is in the second core, bathroom for the main bedroom in-between for extending to roof garden is in the third, and another guestroom is in the fourth.
Because the building is composed of slender volumes, the house looks rather modest in the environment with leaving an austerity, which I wish to express with a reverence to the nature behind.
Text by Satoshi Okada