Architecture firms Jurek Brüggen and KOSA architekten teamed up to design Haus am See — German for “House by the Lake” — a minimalist home crafted for seasonal living. Located on the highest point of Werder Island near the border of Germany and Poland, the contemporary residence has been deliberately stripped down to a restrained palette of exposed concrete and wood in striking contrast to its more ornate neighbors.
The Haus am See is located among four other houses with very different architectural styles, including Neo-Gothic Belvedere, Art Deco, Neo Classical and a bungalow design from the German Democratic Republic era. In contrast, the new residence has no ornamentation; the building consists of a lower, bunker-like concrete volume and a wooden pavilion on the roof that looks out over views of the Havel River. All the construction materials are left exposed and unpainted.
The interior is likewise minimalist; however, it feels much warmer thanks to the use of light-colored timber surfaces throughout. The wooden staircase that leads from the ground floor to the roof doubles as a bookshelf. Large windows and sliding doors provide a constant connection to the outdoors, including the garden with a stone outdoor pool.
To reduce energy costs, the architects designed the home to follow the concept of seasonal living. In winter, the residents can close off the pavilion using folding doors and a sliding window, thus condensing their living area to the ground floor, which is partly buried into the slope to take advantage of the earth’s thermal mass. In summer, the home’s living space is doubled with the use of the pavilion and terrace.
“The seasonal living concept brings a millennia-old cultural technique into the present day,” the architects explained. “In contrast to conventional energy-saving houses, which isolate themselves from their surroundings, it shows how we can effectively conserve resources while living sustainably in connection with the environment. The seasonal concept is a strategy for sustainable living in a time of excessive insulation regulations.”
Images via Jurek Brüggen