Family House in the River Valley, Czech Republic

Project Name: Family House in the River Valley
Location: Znojmo, GPS: 48.8534483N, 16.0422333E
Typology:  Residential
Architectural Firm: Kuba & Pilař architekti
Architects/Designers Name: Tomáš Pilař, Ladislav Kuba & Norbert Walter

Client: Norbert Walter
Project Completion: 2019
Total Area: 439 m2
Built-Up Area: 186 m2
Image Courtesy: BoysPlayNice,,


The plot is situated in a gap between family houses that form the banks of the Dyje River. Steep terrain of the plot has the original terrace landscaping with stonewalls. Above the opposite riverbank rises a rock wall; resting on the wall are the Znojmo Castle, the Rotunda of St. Catherine and the Church of St. Nicholas.

The surrounding houses are quite diverse; they are mainly family houses or blocks of flats with one or two floors.

The determining elements of the designed house are the shape, profile and orientation of the plot. Its minimal width, large slope and north orientation determine the basic shape parameters of the building.

The house is therefore designed on a narrow, rectangle ground plan. It respects the street line on the north side as well as the distance from neighbouring buildings.

The house has three floors facing the waterfront side and one floor facing the slope side.

The northern part of the house, which faces the waterfront, is sloped, forming a sloping roof, which follows the neighbouring roofs’ shape. From the opposite, slope side, the roof is flat.

The roof is entirely green, optically transitioning into a rising garden above the house. Cut into the green roof are two asymmetrically placed windows of children’s rooms and living space. 

The eastern wall of the house is extended and recessed. As a result, the illumination of the bedroom and the corridor on the second floor is possible. The main living area is located on the top floor, and it is connected to the outdoor terrace and the garden on the southern side.

The living space benefits from the absence of partition, which creates two advantages. One, the sunlight floods the room from the southern side, from the garden through the glass wall in the dining area. Two, to the north, it offers impressive views of the valley.

It is the beautiful views of the Dyje River valley and the opposite rocky slopes with important historical monuments of Znojmo that are the main strengths of this site. The entrance is situated on the waterfront street.

An outdoor staircase takes the residents to the terraces and gardens above the house. On the ground floor, parking for one car is provided in a garage, and there is a mechanical room for a heat pump and a ventilation system too.

Next to the entrance, a study with a large window is exposed to the sunlight from the waterfront. On the first floor, there is a master bedroom with a private bathroom, a guest room, two children’s rooms, a large bathroom and a room for housework. Inserted in the living space on the second floor is a closed stall with a toilet and a pantry.

Kitchen cabinets and a fireplace are partly inbuilt into the stall. The kitchen divides the living space into the northern part with sofas and a fireplace, and a southern part with a dining table and access to the outdoor terrace. 

The load-bearing structure is made of reinforced concrete and steel. On the façade, black aluminium cladding sheets were used. All windows have aluminium frames; the sidewall of the inner staircase is made of profile milk glass. On the green roof, several layers of drainage, filtration and protective films were employed. 
The house is heated by a geothermal pump and has warm-air ventilation with recuperation.


load-bearing structure – a combination of concrete and steel
cladding plate aluminum sheet – facade
filtration and protective fabrics, drainage foil – green roof
profiled glass – side wall of the stairs
aluminum windows
polyurethane floor screed – all rooms

Products and Brands

LINIT U-glass, side wall of the stairs — Lamberts
green roof — Optigreen
aluminum windows — Wicona
grass grates in front of the house — Godelmann
polyurethane floor screed, all rooms — Basf
bathroom equipment — Duravit
bathroom faucets — Gessi
switches, all rooms — Jung
living room lamps — Artemide

About studio

Kuba & Pilař architekti is an architectonic studio founded by Ladislav Kuba and Tomáš Pilař in 1996. The studio ranks among the most recognised ones in Czechia. Their buildings have been awarded several times in Grand Prix of Architects – the most prestigious national award for architects. In 2002, they won the main prize for the Library of the Faculty of Arts, Masaryk University in Brno. Other recognised buildings by the studio include the St. Mary’s Chapel in Jestřebí, Residental Estate Na Krutci in Prague and the Omega Department Store in Brno. Designed by the studio, the building of the Faculty of Chemistry and Technology, University of Pardubice received the main prize in Grand Prix 2009. The Apartment House at Kostelní Square in Ostrava won the first place of Grand Prix 2011 in the New Building Category. In 2015, the Grand Prix certificate of merit went to the studio for the Iron Curtain Memorial. In 2020, the building of the Faculty of Humanities, Charles University in Prague was completed.
The work of Kuba & Pilař architekti has been nominated for the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award several times and published in both national and international periodicals.