It took OFIS Architects ten years to bring Portico House to life. Located in one of the city’s upscale districts, this Ljubljana house has been in the works since the start of the last decade. The plot is in the city’s Rozna Dolina district, a name that translates poetically as ‘Flower Valley’. Following an earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale in April 1895, the city needed substantial reconstruction, and the meadows of Rozna Dolina were transformed into workers’ housing, then an upscale residential district. 

Portico House, Ljubljana, by OFIS Architects

The site is also close to the greenest parts of the Slovenian capital, most notably the large Tivoli City Park and the city’s Zoo.

The architects note that the area is now considered to be Ljubljana’s equivalent of Beverly Hills, with large single-family houses grouped into plots on a grid system. ‘Unfortunately, many owners converted the plots into over-scaled multiple dwellings of undefined architectural language,’ they add. 

Portico House, Ljubljana, by OFIS Architects

Arranged as a series of stepped-back terraces, the new family house’s raised ground floor sits above a large basement that effectively occupies almost half of its rectangular plot.

This approach comes from the area’s pre-war villas, which typically were raised up to protect them from flooding. A shallow ramp leads down to a large parking garage, while the entrance staircase creates the portico that gives the house its name. 

Portico House, Ljubljana, by OFIS Architects

This staircase portico covered in perforated patterned metal, leads up to the main living spaces, a kitchen/diner at the front and a living room at the rear, opening up onto a terrace.

A central glazed lightwell looks onto a mature tree planted in the basement and has a small seating area.

Portico House, Ljubljana, by OFIS Architects

The first floor contains two generous bedroom suites, each with its own private terrace, while the principal bedroom occupies the entire top floor, which covers almost exactly half the plot.

Terraces open off the bedroom and bathroom, the latter with a spacious shower and altar-like sunken bath. 

Portico House, Ljubljana, by OFIS Architects

Portico House is shaped by its terraces, which in turn bring light into the heart of the building.

At basement level, a separate bedroom suite is illuminated by the internal glazed courtyard, with space for a utility area and a generous indoor pool, complete with sliding glass doors opening out onto a terrace. The staircase winds around an internal elevator.

Portico House, Ljubljana, by OFIS Architects

Each level has a clearly defined function, with leisure in the basement, living on the ground floor, children on the first floor, and the top floor providing a sanctuary for the parents. §

Portico House, Ljubljana, by OFIS Architects
Portico House, Ljubljana, by OFIS Architects
Portico House, Ljubljana, by OFIS Architects
Portico House, Ljubljana, by OFIS Architects
Portico House, Ljubljana, by OFIS Architects
Photography: Janez Martincic

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