PARDUBICE – Positioned at a height of 2.5 m above the ground, suspended by steel cables, a secretive timber structure hung under the remains of an old railway bridge in a castle town – a former military area and training ground – in the east of the Bohemian region of the Czech Republic. At 4.25 sq-m, H3T Architekti’s Black Flying House was probably too small to be considered as more than a fanciful folly. Visitors would be welcome to enter the micro-house but only if they could find the slender ladder that’s hidden nearby. Inside, they would find a stove and a small sleeping area. Constructed in as little as three days, the installation remained in its location for just over one month until its deconstruction at the end of January. The Czech design studio spoke to Mark about the project, which we are assured was structurally safe.
Where did the Black Flying House come from?
The project was self-initiated. On the one hand, we wanted to offer potential visitors something unpredictable and unusual – maybe even to provoke a bit of reflection on the issue of this abandoned military area. On the flip side, smaller installations like this bring us a bit of distraction from traditional office work.
What about the stereotypical shape?
The archetypal depiction of the house is not coincidental. It is a recognisable gesture – brief but concise. The resulting simplicity is almost picturesque.
How did you choose the location?
One of our colleagues is originally from the city nearby. In the summer, we went for a short walk in this area and we liked the mysterious and unique atmosphere of the place. Over the years, the area lost its former purpose as a military training ground and became redundant. While isolated from the city, the natural beauty of this place stayed untouched and it has a great potential to become an important recreational zone for future generations. Locals are already rediscovering its secrets and our project, in a way, might demonstrate the hidden potential of the area and somehow reawaken interest.
How did you expect people to react to the house?
For us, the project was more of an art installation than a real living space. The house may surprise the visitors and enliven their otherwise ordinary walk. Subsequently, it can provoke more questions: who built it? What’s inside? How do I get in? It’s a kind of game; if you can find a way to get inside, you can enjoy the house for a moment and make yourself comfortable.
This is not the first installation in your portfolio. What is it about this type of architecture that interests you?
Our projects are often temporary and located in an unexpected context. We try to question the use of public space or investigate abandoned locations because they generate interesting situations and create new opportunities.