Two dachas. One is in Pirogovo, near Moscow; the other is in Sestroretsk, in the Gulf of Finland to the north of St Petersburg. The Russian Federation is not the only connection as they were both designed by Umberto Zanetti and are located in natural settings with harsh climates.
Both designs draw heavily on the actual site, adapting to the existing nature and creating a contemporary take on traditional architectural shapes, on the choice of materials and on the use of technology. These houses are slotted in among the trees, without interfering with them, placed to maximise natural light and to seamlessly integrate the buildings into the surrounds. The Pirogovo dacha is raised above the ground, in an open L-shape with living areas that look onto the surrounding greenery and bedrooms that are more closed and “protected”. The house dominates from above, ensuring privacy while maintaining a connection with the environment through an open covered portico and a completely glazed veranda. The Sestroretsk dacha is integrated into nature with a star-shaped plan revolving around a veranda and dining area - a typical dacha feature - that is double-height to ensure optimal natural light for the “hub” of the building. Off this central section run independent “wings” for the bedrooms and bathrooms that, open on two or three sides, are bathed in natural light throughout the day.
Both houses have the same design approach, with a wooden structure and a pre-fabricated building system that ensured excellent control of quality, deadlines and costs. The whole project used an integrated planning model right down to the interior details, with the architects also designing nearly all the furnishings and furniture. For this, they relied on Essequattro’s experience to create their ideas.
Essequattro produced, for these warm and contemporary settings, custom-made wardrobes, cupboards, bathroom furniture, shower cubicles, beds, bookcases, kitchens (with steel counters) and oak wooden panelling for the walls.
As noted, the Pirogovo house has a glazed veranda on the ground floor that is rather like a curved, see-through “bubble”. It required the creation of sliding doors and fixed glazing, with the focus placed especially on the doors, frames and vertical placement of the windows. The frame profiles were embedded in the floor and ceiling to hide them and produce an unbroken see-through effect that helped emphasise the dynamics between the building and the surrounds.
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