Just before Christmas, principal and four colleagues journeyed from their Prague office to an abandoned military training zone in nearby Pardubice, a picturesque woodland locals have co-opted as unofficial parkland. Their truck was so laden with building materials that it had to be pushed up a steep hill en route to the final destination: a disused rail bridge. After securing steel aircraft cables to the bridge’s pillars, the Czech team worked late into the night by electric-generator light to assemble a 46-square-foot birch-plywood hut on a suspended platform. The result? A pitch-black mini-house that appears to hover 10 feet above terra firma.
The guerilla art installation bespoke the architects’ passion for “floating” objects outdoors. (In a previous experiment, they suspended a polycarbonate sauna above the Ohre river). The elevated hut was a thought-provoking response to “the mysterious qualities of the landscape,” Šimek explains. “Some called it ‘the witch’s house!’”
Inside, a log burner, patio set, and sleep loft for two—all black—provided a note of domesticity. But for the 39 days before the military requested its removal, the hut was not easily entered: Šimek hid the necessary ladder in nearby undergrowth, to be found only by the intrepid.