Luxury ‘shepherd hut’ homes win Kraków architects prestigious international award
A Kraków architectural studio is celebrating after being named a winner at the European Property Awards.
Awarded in the category for ‘Multiple Residence’, Karpiel Steindel Architektura took the prize for Osasda w Kościelisko, a seven building residential complex in the heart of the Tatra Mountains.
Found in the scenic village of Kościelisko close to the Slovakian border, the luxury project has already won a slew of admirers since going viral in Poland’s press earlier in the year.
Largely, this has been thanks to a thoughtful design that sought to seamlessly blend the investment into the picturesque surroundings of the country’s mountain region.
Inspiration, say the architects at Karpiel Steindel Architektura, came directly from the heritage of the region: “The design was influenced by the shepherd’s huts in the Tatras, traditionally erected to serve as shelters in the higher parts of the mountains,” they say.
“Due to their form and the materials used, the buildings refer directly to the pastoral structures that have been used for generations,” they add.
Each boasting a floor area of 80 sq/m, the villas were designed so as to fully maximise their biggest advantage: staggering views of the landscape around.
As such, all have southern-facing, fully-glazed gabled fronts to allow for sweeping sightlines.
And although built in a cluster, the buildings have maintained that isolated sense of privacy so valued in such a setting – to aid in this, traditional-style shepherd fences have been looped around the settlement.
With each chalet constructed on rough-hewn stone bases, this method precluded the need to disturb the undersoil with needless excavations whilst simultaneously paying a subtle homage to local architectural traditions.
Likewise, the same philosophy applies to the roofs, rendered as they have been with raw, unprocessed wood sourced from the Carpathian Mountains.
Exuding a sense of warmth and simplicity, they are far removed from the dark and pokey cabins that many may remember from their Polish winter holidays.
Touting glass-fronted balconies, the fundamental design cherishes openness and light. Intimate but not short of understated elegance, the project has succeeded in harmonising with the rustic ambiance of this captivating region.
However, this is not the first time that Karpiel Steindel Architektura have demonstrated how technology and modern practices can fuse with the past to form one organic whole.
Diverse as their portfolio is, previous projects have shown a distinct appreciation of mountain architecture with key examples including a Zakopane-style chalet (again in Kościelisko), as well designs for the renovated Konstantynówka villa originally built in 1900, and a chic apartment block build with characteristic larch wood and sandstone finishes.
Organised as an offshoot of the International Property Awards, the architectural and interior design competition is commonly recognised as one of the most prestigious in its field.
Created to celebrate ‘excellence in the property industry’, the judging process was handled by an independent panel selected for their expertise in specific fields.