We knew we hit the renewable resource jackpot when we stumbled upon this quirky and corky home in Northern Portugal, whose facade is almost completely covered with cork blocks. Like, cork you could pin your grocery list to. We dig it - cork is a renewable resource, it's impermeable, heck it's even buoyant, so it actually makes a lot of sense to use it as a cladding material for a house. Although, in most parts of the world, using this much cork would probably put you on notice, but since it's located in Portugal, harvester of 50% of the world's cork material, we'll let it slide since it's sourced locally.
The Cork House is a simple, rectangular block with a pitched roof, and is clad almost completely with cork blocks, except for the windows and corrugated metal covers over the garage. The home’s owners hired Arquitectos Anónimos® to design and build a home that would be private from the surrounding neighbors in Esposende. Built into the hillside, the six-room home has two entrances – one on the ground floor and another on the first. The dining, living and kitchen are on the first floor and a lofted group of bedrooms are located on the second.
Inside, the home is minimally furnished and simply decorated, giving off more of an office-like environment than a cozy home. As it would seem, the client was looking for something a little out of the ordinary, private and low-cost. Numerous windows on the east side to collect the morning sun, which is filtered through the aluminum shutters. One window on the south side provides views of the neighborhood, and just a few shaded windows on the west side keep the home from overheating in the afternoon.
Cork is certainly an unusual material to be used as a cladding, but at the same time also makes sense. With it being such a common material in Portugal, it is probably far less expensive than here in the US. Installed correctly over thermal and water barriers, it should effectively keep the rain out and even provide an extra layer of insulation. The home was completed in 2007 and is apparently still holding up quite well.
Via Daily Tonic
Images ©Ivo Canelas/AA