At the foot of the Small Carpathians, the Hunting Ranch works with the gently sloping landscape. Above ground four timber houses are arranged in a village or hamlet-like setting, and below this, a hefty 3000m2 of supporting programme is tucked inconspiciously into the hillside.
The design of the “Hunting Ranch”, aims to balance contradictory sentiments; providing a space where one can retreat back in time and get in touch with the elements while still satisfying a desire for all the luxuries and comforts of a contemporary lodge.
It achieves this by placing a series of individual timber houses; the master’s ‘Lake House’, the relatives’ ‘Forest House’, and the ‘Guest House’ above a large, interconnected foundation which quietly supports a luxury stay in nature.
This foundation is embedded into the sloping hillside. Below ground is a considerable amount of auxiliary and amenity space which links all the houses together; including technical rooms, a ten-car garage, wine cellar , security spaces, a cinema, wellness space, a fitness area and a large reception room.
This vertical separation means it is easy to adapt to different circumstances: It can be read as a modest setup of individual houses and at the same time as an impressive and overwhelming architectonic complex with infinite possibilities for use. For example, the hunting ranch can be a cosy family home with a high level of privacy, a stylish boutique hotel with easy access to common activities, an event location or tranquil forest retreat.
The Lake-, Forest-, Guest and Warden’s House have the appearance of Scandinavian wood houses or alpine mountain lodges. These warm, timber volumes are surrounded on three sides by verandas and protruding, weather-protecting roofs, walls and floors of natural stone. The lower volume emerges as ferric oxide pigmented concrete slices that resembles the earth that is excavated into.
Both the exterior and interior is made of primary, natural materials: heavy natural stone plates and blocks with split or brushed surfaces, solid larch and oak wood is combined with bronze and copper details like rain gutters, door handles and sanitary equipment. Swiss Interior designer Ruth Kramer oversaw the interior design, which features a mix of modern and vintage design furniture in rich natural materials, like leather, fur, timber and bronze.
The Hunting Ranch backs onto a dense forest of pine, oak, beech and hornbeam trees and overlooks a low-lying open meadow and lake. The excavated soil from construction is reused to the sculpting of a manmade lake. A dyke allows the lake’s waterline to be level with the garden. The lake and houses snake around the existing trees, to ensure these remain intact.