This cozy mountain home in Serbia marries vernacular design with modern forms. Its dual nature, achieved by combining two volumes that contrast each other in materiality, creates an engaging interplay of traditional elements and monolithic masses, while boasting generous views of the forested hills of nearby Mount Maljen. Belgrade-based EXE Studio focused on some of the trademarks of mountain architecture: natural materials, geometry and a strong connection to the terrain, and built a small retreat that seeks to minimize its impact on the natural surroundings.
Built into the hillside of Mount Maljen, close to the Divcibare tourist resort, the house blends into the natural surroundings dominated by pine forests. Its slate roof surfaces reference the traditional architecture of the region while introducing an element of modernity. A steep roof clad in timber shingles houses open-plan sleeping quarters which can accommodate up to seven people and shelters a small porch. The combined living and dining area with a small kitchen occupy the white monolithic volume.
With the exception of a few rustic details and intricately woven traditional carpets, the interior sports a minimalist aesthetics that focuses most of the attention on the large bay window overlooking the surrounding hilltops.
The relatively low budget and inaccessibility of the site dictated the design and construction processes, forcing the architects to create an architecture of simple gestures and utilize locally available materials. Timber from local forests was combined with ceramic tiles in an attempt to accentuate the dichotomy between the modern and the traditional.
Photos by Relja Ivanić