Vernacular Craftsmanship Meets Contemporary Minimalism in a Renovated Dacha in Rural Russia

Designed by FORM Bureau as a place for relaxation, the project reimagines the country estate as a modern retreat that filters Suzdal’s rich history and rural culture through an eclectic lens of minimalist sophistication and artistic expression.

By Balthazar Malevolent

Vernacular Craftsmanship Meets Contemporary Minimalism in a Renovated Dacha in Rural Russia

The large manor house is located in the centre of Suzdal, on the bank of the river Kamenka. The ensemble of the site should preserve its history and also become an important part of the city's panorama from the walls of the Pokrovsky monastery on the opposite bank.

During the renovation, it was important to bring out the building's qualities, and at the same time to find a place for creative expression. Thus a concept of a dense "historical" building was born, with wooden houses united by a modern structure. The house is inscribed in the town panorama, but it is delicately emphasised by light, modern volumes which appear in the gaps between the historical facades - either through a lancet window, or through the turrets cutting through the roof. The carved facades are reminiscent of museum pieces - the lacework of the window casings and cornices.

The traditional decor also contrasts with the modern black metal veranda. The minimalist construction reduces the theatricality of the wooden panels, but the space is still playful: a carved column is visible among the veranda's supports. It is a traditional element of wooden architecture, an inexhaustible source of inspiration for generations of artists including sculptor Constantine Brancusi.

The house on the bank of the river Kamenka has been conceived as a retreat from the bustling city. The main inspiration for the interior came from the old 'professors' dachas - their striking image was formed from assorted furniture, given away by friends or transported from city flats. To get that impression of randomness from scratch, the furniture and décor were assembled from showrooms of various brands and vintage shops, while some pieces were custom-made for the project. Art and an impressive library bring a personal touch to the interior.

Dacha, Suzdal
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