Even when the most sustainable methods of construction are employed it’s a given that whenever you build something new there will be, for better or worse, a visual impact to the landscape. Polish architecture firm KWK Promes decided to embrace that inevitability and build their design for a new home beneath a grassy mound of land. By essentially lifting the existing land and placing it on the roof, the OUTrial house maintains a subtle presence and pays service to the surrounding landscape.
Located in the small town of Ksiazenice Poland,the only context for the new home was a green clearing surrounded by forest. Sensitive to the existing conditions, the architects came up with the idea to “carve out” a piece of the grass-covered site, move it up, treat it as the roofing, and then arrange all the typical household functions underneath. So while the visual effect may be that of a house built into a grassy knoll, the 180 sqm house is really a free-standing box construction with a grass roof.
But the design isn’t just an homage to the surrounding environment. The grass-covered roof also provides the home with natural insulation year round, and the ground level construction takes advantage of unobstructed natural light coming through the home’s numerous floor-to-ceiling windows. What’s perhaps most extraordinary about this house is that even as the grass roof feels as if it extends freely into the clearing, it is in fact only accessible from inside the house via a set of grass stairs.
The roof space provides all the comforts of an outer garden, but at the same time remains a safe, internal zone within the building without any overbearing constraints such as a fence or gate. The result is the creation of a natural flow and an intimate relationship between the occupant, the home’s interior and exterior spaces, and all the external elements.
Via Arch Daily