The brief was for a 4-bedroom house, to be used in particular as a base for fishing trips on and around Lake Batak. The house addresses the challenging physical and climactic geography of the site. The ground slopes away down to the lake at a 1:5 gradient and the areas behind the property are forested with very tall trees. Except in high summer, very little sun falls on the site through most of the day. Being at an altitude of 4,590 feet, the temperature can fall to minus 20 degrees on a winter night, with 3 feet of snowfall quite typical. In summer it can reach 40 degrees.
The bedrooms are therefore underground to stabilize the internal environment, while the living accommodation is above in a tall, massively-insulated volume, on top of which are solar panels above the shadows of the trees. The house thus has a reduced visual impact on the landscape, with charred spruce cladding allowing the house to blend into the surrounding forest.
The lodge eschews minimalism, celebrating the “stuff” of buildings: gargoyles, solar panels, eaves, and light switches — in particular those things associated with the weather which add poetic resonance to the inhabiting of a house. From the outset, the design was influenced by Bulgarian vernacular architecture and its relation to the Bulgarian way of life. The aim has been to create a building that does not stand mute, abstract, and “other” in the landscape, but instead connects to it thematically — something resonant and yet belonging to its site through metaphor and narrative.