XXS house

ex-service shed to an urban holiday-home

location: Ljubljana, Slovenia
project date: 2002 – 2004
completion date: 2004
area: 43 m2
type: residential
source: commission
client: private
photos: Matevž Paternoster

project team: Aljoša Dekleva, Tina Gregorič


  • Silver Plate, European Architecture Award Luigi Cosenza 2004

  • The eXtra-eXtra-Small House is located in a specific part of the centre of Ljubljana. The neighbourhood called Krakovo has the structure of a historical village, which in the Middle Ages supplied the nearby monastery with fresh food, and is today a highly protected historical area. The basic dimensions of the new house were already defined by law according to the volume of the pre-existing house, which a hundred years ago served as the service building for a traditional house next-door. The task was to integrate all residential functions in an extra small volume to suit the needs of a couple living in the countryside for their new urban holiday-home. Since the house faces north, it was a challenge to bring direct and indirect sunlight to the living spaces on the ground floor. Heritage protection rules allow light shafts on the roofs, but in this case we turned them towards the sky. This major alteration of the volume opened up completely new attic space suitable for use. A huge wall sized sliding window opens up the space to the intimate atrium and allows for indirect lighting. The selection of the façade materials and detailing established the desired service appearance of the house. The concept of raw materials stretches from exterior to interior – using fibre cement panels in their primer mode for the roof and yard façade, and ‘raw concrete’, terrazzo, plywood, iron, and felt for indoors. The total area of 43m2 ultimately names the house –XXS.