In the region of Moravia, the town of Zlín is one of Czech Republic’s architectural treasures. Once a magnet for modernist designers — from local luminary František Lýdie Gahura to international icons like Peter Behrens and Le Corbusier — the former industrial powerhouse remains a hub of design ambition. Past the city centre’s swaths of brick and concrete, the winding cobblestone roads give way to an idyllic residential district on Zlín’s woodland hillside. Here, Czech architect Petr Janda’s latest Passive House project translates the town’s ubiquitous industrial style into a very different setting.
The meaning of its name, Lazy House, is two-fold. “Lazy” quite literally refers to the neighbourhood where the house resides, derived from the Czech word used to describe the sloped forest clearing. The moniker also nods to the building’s sustainable design strategies that enable it to use very little energy, meeting Passive House standards. In embracing the surrounding landscape, the architects have crafted a residence that reflects a laid back lifestyle — one that is fitting given the building’s name.
Inspired by cliffside villas of the Mediterranean, the house’s sleek design evokes a hint of the Hollywood hills in the Czech countryside — at least, when viewed from its northern street frontage. From the south, however, Lazy House is seamlessly integrated with the neighbouring residences.
Nestled into the terrain, the building appears at first to be a one-story residence — and that isn’t the only illusion at play. North and south facades clad in a triple layer of mirrored glass allow the building to practically disappear into Zlín’s forested landscape, while the east and west facades’ stainless steel membranes add a layer of privacy from the adjacent properties. From above, a green roof conceals the house within the garden, enhancing the camouflage effect.
Nearby, a wine cellar and swimming pool emerge from the landscape. Mimicking the natural slope of the hill, the infinity pool strategically overlooks the house to provide stunning views of Zlín’s central valley. The original vaulted wine cellar clad in red brick is accessed by a Corten steel door, revealing a trace of the town’s architectural roots.
The link to the landscape doesn’t stop at the building’s exterior. Though the mirrored and veiled facades prevent neighbours from looking in, residents enjoy panoramic vistas of the town and garden through the floor-to-ceiling windows.
While the communal living spaces face inwards, more private rooms such as offices and bedrooms are located in the building’s corners, offering connection to the outdoors.
Wood is the aesthetic through-line that drives the interior. Clad in elm veneer, the consistency of the material palette makes for a unified space, while lighting diffused with two-tone filters injects a touch of iridescent colour.
Bookending the space, the washrooms take on a different personality altogether, proudly conveying that Hollywood glamour hinted in the exterior.
Petr Janda’s Lazy House is a riff on the cliffside villa, masterfully camouflaged within Zlín’s verdant landscape.