fot. Nora a Jakub (

The black house of our neighbours. The simple body of the house impresses

The black house was built on the outskirts of a small Slovak town. It is a simple block that opens onto the garden from the living room. The design of the house was created by London-based studio JJ Design.

When working on the design of the building, the architects wanted to combine the residents’ need for a sense of privacy and closeness to nature. The house is located on the border of a green conservation area. The surrounding greenery is therefore an asset that the designers decided to exploit. This was achieved through the appropriate positioning of windows.

The house was built on a simple plan. Minimalism was repeated inside. Both in the décor and the simple and clear functional layout. The façade of the building is made of metal panels, which give it a modest yet mysterious appearance. The building has less glazing on the street side. This is a deliberate measure to increase the feeling of privacy. The architects took a completely different approach to the wall on the garden side. Huge expanses of glass connect the living area with the terrace. In this way, a space was created that is ideal for spending free time with the family or organising parties. Sitting comfortably in the living room, one gets the impression of being outside. This impression is enhanced by the high ceiling in this part of the building. Just open the door and fresh air fills the interior. The living room has become the heart of the house.

On the ground floor, there is also a main bathroom, an office, a utility room and a built- in area with numerous storage compartments that make it easier to keep things tidy. The residents’ private area was created on the first floor. There are three bedrooms, an additional bathroom and a play area suspended above the ground floor. The effect was achieved with the help of a hammock net. The layout proposed by the architects made it possible to create spaces for each of the occupants.

The design of this house is based on the use of simple materials – metal, concrete, wood, glass and black plaster. Taken together, they create a modern, cohesive aesthetic that emphasises simplicity and elegance.

The use of eco-friendly solutions was also important in the design. Thanks to triple glazing in the doors and windows and ventilation with heat recovery, an optimal temperature is maintained inside. Heating the interior in winter or cooling it in summer requires less energy, which translates into real savings.

The simple and sincere form of the building was recognised by the experts of the Internorm Architecture Competition 2023, with the house winning the prize in the “Small residential project” category. The jury justified their choice as follows:

The simple single-family house impresses with its thoughtful interior and exterior spaces, beautiful views and lighting, as well as a harmonious, warm material concept that does not seem obtrusive. The discreet building impresses with spacious rooms with beautiful lighting, architectural sophistication and warm, harmonious materials. The single-family house has been thought through down to the smallest detail, exuding an inviting atmosphere while remaining unobtrusive,” justified the award to architect and Jury member Catharina Finder.

The single-family house in Slovakia is an example of how the motto made famous by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, “less is more”, is still valid in the world of architecture.

designed by Jana Ralbovská – JJ Studio(

Read also: Single-family house | Windows | Slovakia | Minimalism | Interiors | Featured | whiteMAD on Instagram

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