Recycled materials, energy-saving systems and references to Kosovan culture have been woven throughout the H House, a handsome and contemporary residence in Čaglavica, a village near the Kosovo capital of Pristina. Designed by 4M Group, the home serves as a beacon of optimism and energy-efficiency for the self-declared independent state, which has been defined by a long and troubled history. Sustainability is paramount to the dwelling and is expressed through the adoption of passive deign principles, locally sourced and recycled materials and sensor-activated fixtures.
As a partially recognized state and disputed territory in Southeastern Europe, Kosovo is home to a rich culture and a long history of war. “Demonstrating awareness of the dichotomy of Kosovo’s recent history, the client wanted a house where safety and security was paramount, but with open, light-filled interiors,” said the architects, adding that they wanted to “reflect the cultural legacy and illustrate a renewed optimism in Pristina with the creation of the H House.” As a result, the outer appearance of the home takes inspiration from the Fustanella, the traditional Albanian dress worn by men, and mimics the folds of the white garment in its multifaceted facade.
The angular exterior also has a practical purpose as well. The architects followed passive solar principles in the design of the airtight building to mitigate the region’s extreme temperature fluctuations and also installed heavily insulated reinforced concrete walls as well as deeply recessed triple-glazed windows. The construction materials and labor were sourced locally and recycled materials were used wherever possible. Consequently, the H House only takes a little energy to maintain a comfortable indoor environment year-round.
In addition to low-tech strategies, the architects installed smart systems for comfort control including automatically operating louvers and window fan lights. Heating is supplied via a dual air/water thermal heat pump that also powers the underfloor heating. A wood pellet boiler provides supplemental heating. Low-energy lighting and water-efficient fixtures have also been installed.
Photography by Ilir Rizaj and Fitim Muçaj via 4M Group