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Hidden House

Eco from a different angle

In a time when words like sustainable, ecological and green are almost an obligation, they are often only used as a label. That is why one of our latest projects proved to be challenging, but also very exciting: we were asked to design an ECO House. Thanks to our friends from  Mode:Lina we were involved in a Polish design competition. The assignment was clear and simple: design a house for a standard family, on a standard location, but with a highly sustainable performance.

We had faced this topic before in previous projects, but it had not yet been used as core of the design. For this competition we were asked to be bold, to push to the boundaries of sustainability. It took us several brainstorm sessions to find the right strategy, but at the end we all agreed on one thing: our answer to the question should be architectural. Since we are not engineers, biologists or scientists, we had to look at it from an architectural point of view: does the house contribute to the quality of daily life? 

As architects, we deal with space, organization, shapes, light, materials… So we took a basic shape (rectangle), used an age-old natural and ecological recourse (geothermal heat) and combined the two. The house is a rectangle of 28 by 9 by 4.3 meters that for two thirds has been plugged into the ground under an angle of 21 degrees! With one gesture, we created both a strong visual statement and a high performance energy standard. Simple, strong and efficient, but not without consequence. We also had to deal with the psychological impact of living in a sloped house, underneath the ground and with little natural light. We solved this by taking the daily life cycle into account for every floor. The more private spaces are underground and sheltered from the outside world. The living spaces are located above the ground in contact with the light and the surroundings.