News Home & Design Contemporary Terracotta-Clad Office Celebrates Traditional Building Techniques There's even a hidden loft for naps. By Kimberley Mok Kimberley Mok Twitter Writer McGill University Cornell University Kimberley Mok is a former architect who has been covering architecture and the arts for Treehugger since 2007. Learn about our editorial process Published January 28, 2022 03:00PM EST Fact checked by Katherine Martinko Fact checked by Katherine Martinko Twitter University of Toronto Katherine Martinko is an expert in sustainable living. She holds a degree in English Literature and History from the University of Toronto. Learn about our fact checking process Share Twitter Pinterest Email Todor Todorov News Environment Business & Policy Science Animals Home & Design Current Events Treehugger Voices News Archive For years, we've touted the benefits of working from home—not only is it good for the environment, but also potentially a more productive option for employers, and a better work-life balance for employees. But then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and everyone—including kids—was all stuck at home, trying to adapt to a new and uncertain situation. Many parents found themselves juggling both remote work and their children's remote learning, and from the looks of it, it has not been an easy ride. So it's little wonder that the idea of having a dedicated home office space to work from has become quite popular. Whether it's keeping it simple and making do with a corner in the kitchen, building an office shed in the backyard, or installing a prefab work pod, it's always fascinating to see how people solve their work-from-home woes. In needing a distinct and distinctive space for creative work and recreation, Bulgarian architecture firm studio nada designed this wonderfully modern, yet down-to-earth, studio with a green roof. Todor Todorov Located on the outskirts of the northern town of Karpachevo, Bulgaria, the site already has an existing two-story house made with adobe, as well as a stone barn. Surrounding the slightly sloped site are walnut trees and a stone fence—all of which were taken into account in the overall design of the new structure. The single-story studio has a rectangular floor plan that is loosely split into two zones: one for work, and one for more leisurely activities, like reading, lounging, and cooking. In addition, there is a bathroom, a shower room, and a small loft that is accessible via a ladder. Todor Todorov One side is more open, thanks to a long southeastern facade of large windows and glazed doors offering views out to the hills of the Devetaki Plateau beyond. The other three walls consist of stacked red-brown terracotta bricks, of which there are actually two layers, with a layer of stone wool insulation between. The concept is to not only build a welcoming atelier for a range of activities but also to refer back to traditional local building techniques, say architects Antonina Tritakova and Georgi Subev: "The creation of a simple, honest, and clean space is the very essence of the project. The use of materials in their ‘raw’ natural look is a harmonic addition to the rural surroundings. Clay used to be the main building material of the houses in the village. In this context, the ceramic blocks of which the studio is constructed act as a contemporary interpretation of the traditional building technique." The traditional terracotta bricks stand in contrast to the rather modern glass and metal awning. An exterior terrace paved with more bricks helps to extend the interior space outdoors. Todor Todorov Another whimsical, terracotta-influenced touch can be found in the privacy screen that stands in front of one end of the building—there are indeed recycled terracotta tiles here, arranged as if on display at a museum. Todor Todorov Much of the cabinetry and built-in furniture is constructed with high-quality plywood and timber, creating a minimalist but warm atmosphere, like this washbasin area located in the studio side of the building. Todor Todorov Behind this washbasin zone is the bathroom and a shower alcove, topped with reclaimed terracotta tiles. Todor Todorov The staggered pattern of the large-scale bricks is offset nicely by the planar quality of the plywood elements. Todor Todorov Past the workspace, we have a room that is outfitted for more relaxing pursuits. There is an upholstered bench, a wood stove, and plenty of integrated shelves and cubbies for storing books and plants. Todor Todorov There is a kitchenette with a sink and countertop for preparing light meals or snacks. Todor Todorov We love the well-placed window that runs along the length of the bench, which not only lets sunlight into what would have been a dark corner but also provides a view of the stone wall. Todor Todorov Behind the wall of the living room, we have a cozy loft where one can curl up for a nap in between work sessions, or read a book. Todor Todorov As architecturally minded workspaces go, this is quite a gem: It combines the old with the new, while also aiming for energy efficiency, and incorporating "green" design elements like reclaimed materials, and a green roof—even in the communal act of its construction. As the architects explain: "The building is a metaphorical bridge between traditional and contemporary architecture. [..] In the spirit of this metaphorical link is the very construction of the building. An old Bulgarian tradition existed back in the days, where family members, neighbors, and friends all together took part in the building process. Following this custom, the two owners built the studio on their own with the help of their closest relatives. This act of up-building makes a reference to the immovable cultural heritage and the material culture of the region." To see more, visit studio nada and their Instagram.