In the Czech Republic, on the edge of the Krivoklat woods, a residential area known for weekend cottages has a new renovated home. The floor plan is a quarter circle with walls made of concrete blocks. Rounded walls and ceiling were constructed of wood in this redesign that opens the home to the southwest garden.
The open façade is made of windows set in anthracite frames. The architects, Stempel and Tesar architekti, used contrast between concrete and wood in the interior and exterior to house a living room, kitchen and dining room and an open staircase that leads up to four upstairs bedrooms. Bathrooms, service rooms and storage spaces are located along the concrete walls.
Additionally, the owners began the renovation project of this home before the pandemic out of their love of nature. They did not realize this would be the perfect solution to a time of isolation and people fleeing cities to spend time in the open outdoors. This home opens to the sun like a fan, absorbing solar energy passively, but preventing overheating by use of an overhanging roof and horizontal shading on the windows.
Meanwhile, shades are used both on the inside of the home and built into the interior of the triple-glazed windows. In the winter, this home absorbs heat to reduce energy costs. A stove with heat exchanger at the center of the home further reduces heating costs.
Renewable wood was used for most of the construction, paired with steel joists and tie rods. Furniture was built into the home between the beams to make the home’s rooms resemble ship cabins. Windward sides of the home are protected using concrete blocks to ensure a longer lifespan of the building materials and the home. An insulated sandwich wall absorbs heat while adding to structural stability.
Moreover, the pond optimizes rainwater collection for watering the garden during dry periods and has its own root zone treatment plant. This body of water also cools the microclimate around the building. The home creates no wastewater to the local sewer line, but uses all water twice at a minimum. The home also reuses warm fresh air from outside during the winter.
Under the garden, the designers installed a prefabricated cellar made of recycled plastic. Gardening tools and bikes are kept in shipping containers that are painted orange and kept on either side of the cement wall side of the home, creating extra privacy in an industrial, but decorative style for the street-facing side of the home.
Photography by Filip Slapal