Rethinking Traditional Values

Hungarian architects built a house which took the classical cross-section and layout of a traditional farmstead and reconstructed it with a modern eye

Hungarian architects

Fact File
Architects: András Varsányi, Péter Pozsár, Norbert Vas
Building contractor: Tóth Tibor - carpenter
Year of construction: 2014-2016
Scale of project: 480 m2
Project cost: 500,000 EUR
Photo credit: Tamas Bujnovszky

This modern farmstead expresses the contemporary need for smart integration into an environment while extolling the traditional values that come from the building’s folk inspiration. Having won the audience’s vote at the Media Architecture Awards, it’s clear this is a value that modern homeowners are considering.

In the small village of Algyo in the Great Hungarian Plain, the surrounding area became depopulated due to global and national changes in the needs of agriculture. It was important, therefore, that the project maintained the traditional values of such a building but with more contemporary needs.

Hungarian architects

As a result, the most iconic aspect of the project is the central courtyard, enclosed by three sides to create an intimate setting amidst the surrounding acacia forest. The various modernized elements take aspects that were no longer needed from a traditional farmstead and repurposed their use. For instance, what once would have been stalls for animals or maize, are now garages. A corner section was removed as part of the interior structure but the roof was retained to create a quaint, sheltered, outdoor seating area.

The outdoor area encapsulates a pool and a number of terraces of varying heights. A modern library (a white cube) protrudes from the otherwise entirely wooden structure. The secluded spot embeds itself within the forest, intentionally representing urban architectural design but also creating a quiet space to read and relax.

Hungarian architects

The intention of the architects was to utilize a minimal floor-plan, making use of the traditional roof to create an interior space that was at once open, warm and welcoming. Though the building mimics the orientation of the original farmhouse exactly, its position within the wood was carefully selected to minimize its impact on the forestry and help its habitation within nature to be as seamless as possible.

The building is divided into living areas and bedrooms, effectively connected via the outer courtyard and sheltered club space. Windows on either side of the building allow light to seep in from every angle and create a much brighter and more airy space in contrast to the darker rooms of traditional houses, whose functions relied on protection from the elements.