#27 May/June 2009

Community centre, Ghetari

Community centre, Ghetari
Community centre, Ghetari
Community centre, Ghetari
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Community centre

Community centre

GHETARI (RO) - ABRUPTARHITECTURA reinterprets local typologies and materials to produce a model public building in a sensitive rural area.

The competition for a Community Centre in Ghetari village (part of the Girda commune) is part of a wider cultural and social programme launched by a grouping of NGOs, the Transylvania Branch of the Chamber of Architects and local authorities. The programme is focused on a well-defined natural and cultural zone in the Western Carpathians, currently subject to hectic tourist development. A study of traditional dwelling types and architecture was combined with an effort to promote this heritage and to define the major features (typologies, shapes, materials, etc.) that any new buildings should observe. The competition brief therefore required not only a solution for a specific building, but also a 'model' public building that would reinterpret the spirit of the place. The winning team rejected any sort of stylistic borrowing; instead it concentrated on the essential typologies and the questions posed by the insertion of a large building mass into an outstanding and sparsely built landscape.

Typical villages in this mountain area consist of scattered homesteads. Both the climate and the available roofing materials (clapboard, hay and even fir foliage) resulted in characteristic structures in the form of small rectangular prisms with pitched hipped roofs (the ratio between the house itself and the roof reaches 1:2 or greater).

The easy solution of building a 'big house' – keeping the proportions but inflating the size – would have led to an over-scaled volume, visually overwhelming and somewhat ludicrous. Instead, the architects developed a kind of abstract 'homestead', an assemblage of four wooden roofs rising above a base that is partially dug into the slope. Both the slope and the openings in the base, which is reminiscent of a stone wall, turn the ensemble from a conventional building into an architectural landscape, which you can access and cross without difficulty. The four roofs do not finish in the traditional linear ridge but in a skylight that draws in natural light. Two of the four roofs cover various ateliers and services, while the other two cover the largest space of the building, a multi-functional hall. A system of staircases and mezzanine floors inside this space provide easy communication with the raised courtyard and provide some additional space without diminishing the impressive void.

Wood and stone (and partially plaster on the inside) are the only finishing materials; the uniform treatment of the exterior offers an image of a homogeneous skin. Now, as the project enters the detailed planning stage, we are anxious to see whether its initial integrity will be preserved. For example, the architects wanted wood, not metal or concrete, for the roof structure; let's hope they can achieve this while also preserving the unity of the interior space.

May | 2009 | Romania | Ştefan Ghenciulescu
#27 cover
#27 May/June 2009

#27 May/June 2009

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