Dražovce, Nitra, Slovakia
European 40 under 40 laureate Sebastian Nagy designed this house called “House OTIO” that is blessed by its own occupier – a catholic priest.
“Otium” is a Latin word meaning free time or vacation.
Sebastian Nagy was recently awarded a 2020 European 40 Under 40 Award from The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies and The Chicago Athenaeum.
Drážovce is a small village close to Nitra. It is a quiet and green place where the treetops breathe a majestic atmosphere.
Entering the parish garden, the site is dominated by the Roman Catholic church of Francis Xavier.
From the green at the back of the garden emerges a stone wall – a monument. It is a house called Otio which at first sight looks modest and reserved.
One feels to be floating between the past and the present.
As one comes closer, there is a floating symbolic cross above our heads that supports a small glass shelter.
A large saddle roof with gentle slope literally grows out of the stone wall.
There is a stunning simplicity of the most fundamental building components – the wall and roof.
When entering the house we are expecting a dark spiritual atmosphere similar to biblical imagery in light and dark.
However, one is surprised by a beautifully illuminated interior.
There is a natural flow from the small hall going all the way to the living room. White walls and light stone flooring is accompanied by built-in furniture. Design furniture like Verner Panton chairs and Charles Eames Lounge Chair shine like jewels.
The self-centred introvert opens up his soul through the large glass wall overlooking the atrium.
A gentle turning of the wall on the floor plan allows a direct view of the church tower which holds a symbolic meaning of connecting the present with the past as well as a practical function.
The house is a composition of spaces that pays attention to the traditional aesthetic principles.
The neat right angle disposition is naturally divided into the day zone and the night zone.
In addition, the cut of the floor plan brings the austere minimalist aesthetics into sculptural formation.
The visual connection of the priest’s house with the church tower was a simple artistic aim emphasized also by the slightly descending wall dividing the atrium and the parish garden.
In this way, the house has settled in the environment without any disruptions and is breathing the sculptural atmosphere enhanced by the place itself.
“Otio has an Avant-guard ambition,” says the architect Sebastian Nagy.
“It is meant to last and react to the generational change of its occupier, the priest.”
Planning works begun in 2008 when the priest from Drážovce started to look for an architect who would suit his expectations of designing a priest’s house by connecting the historical context with modern art techniques while keeping a tight budget.
Already the first sketches were spot on. Later on, when the works were in progress, a close partnership arose between the young architect and the Avant-guard priest resulting in a piece of unique architecture.
A fresh and original idea inspired by the location where it was born, is in harmony with a neat interior typical for a city dwelling rather than a priest’s country house.
The world is in progress and the church as well. Its tradition of sponsoring great works of the most progressive art and architecture has come to life again.
Not in a pompous way showing its richness but in a modest appearance not exceeding final costs of €150,000.
The four rooms are exactly made to measure. They provide enough space for work, relaxation and proper reception.
When we consider the excellent choice of materials and efficient building work, we have evidence of a very professional architect together with client’s right choices. The house is glowing with positive energy which is a result of perfect coordination between all participants.
Project: House OTIO
Architects: Sebastian Nagy Architects, s.r.o
Client: Farnosť Nitra – Dražovce
Photographs: Paťo Safko