One half of this tiny mountain dwelling in western Serbia is faced in white ceramic tiles, even though the other is clad in dark timber shingles – a nod to both traditional and contemporary types .
Designed by Serbian practice EXE Studio, the house sits inside the popular resort of Divčibare on the side of Maljen mountain. Hiking and skiing trails criss-cross the mountain’s grassy meadows and coniferous forests, forming a backdrop for the dwelling.
The 76-square-metre home is split into two irregularly shaped volumes, every single defined by a diverse materials. One side is covered in white ceramic tiles and the other in dark brown timber sourced from a local forest.
The white tiled portion of the house is meant to signify contemporary domesticity, and consists of the property’s kitchen, dining area and lounge, whilst the shingled portion containing the bedroom and bathroom references standard mountain architecture.
“By way of the duality of the residence, the intent was to merge the traditional and the modern to produce a distinctive aesthetic and a framework sympathetic to its surroundings,” explained studio founders Andreja Mitrović and Tijana Mitrović.
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“Made by combining the two major monolithic volumes, light and dark,” they continued, “these forms merge with the all-natural environment of minimal pine vegetation and steep rocky terrain.”
Home in Divčibare huddles against a stage in the rocky terrain, which helps to shelter a small patio below the shingled roof.
A flight of grey measures climbs over a stack of logs on one side of the building’s porch, foremost to a grove of pine trees on the higher ground at the rear of the site.
“Though the plot has been overrun with modest pine trees, it nonetheless bears the original character of the open field,” explained the architects.
“To minimise disturbance to the site and as a reference to the surrounding hilly terrain, the house is built into the hillside.”
A large window in a faceted frame protrudes from the white section of the home, providing views down the forested mountainside. An upholstered bench and telescope are positioned against the window to make the best of these views.
“The white portion of the house connects to the outside by means of a grand image window, which guides the transition from the artificial to the organic,” said the architects.
“The white cladding makes this volume abstract and opposite to the rural surroundings,” explained the studio. “The black half of the house draws inspiration from original mountain residences.”
A second, smaller window for the bedroom is hidden behind a shingled shutter in the pitched roof.
Photography is by Relja Ivanić.
Architects: EXE Studio
Architects in Charge: Andreja Mitrović, Tijana Mitrović
Construction: EXE Workshop
Site plan Ground floor plan First floor prepare Cross segment Lengthy part