Completed over the span of four years, Haus B is a passive solar home that is a contemporary departure from the housing norm of the 1960s suburban neighborhood in which it resides. Located in Dreieich, Germany, the 320-square-meter house was designed by Düsseldorf-based design studio One Fine Day (Office for Architectural Design) in collaboration with Ulrike Thies, who acted as the construction supervisor. Most impressively, the single-family residence was designed and built to surpass the requirements of the latest German Energy Saving Ordinance (EnEV) with its strict adherence to passive solar principles along with highly energy-efficient materials and renewable energy systems.

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Since the property is surrounded by a mix of traditional, small-scale housing types and a “somewhat reckless” style of architecture that has emerged since the 1990s, the architects wanted to be careful to create a sensitive, site-specific design. “Haus B finds itself in an apparently homogeneous, yet, at least architecturally, also quite ambiguous neighborhood,” the design firm noted. “Here it has to balance the needs of contemporary living and aesthetics with the cultural and formal implications of a grown context that is typical for many suburban settlements throughout the region.”

To that end, the architects let the site inform the design of the home’s elongated volume, from its low-slung form that complements the low heights of the neighboring houses to its muted exterior color palette of off-whites and dark grays. But the firm was unafraid to introduce more modern and sculptural elements to the home, which can be seen in the slightly deformed roofline and the interior, which features an open-plan layout with curved walls and double height spaces.

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Following passive solar principles, Haus B has been oriented toward the south and southwest to maximize solar exposure during wintertime, while roof overhangs and adjustable canvas blinds block unwanted solar gain during summer. All the exterior wall and roof surfaces feature up to 20-centimeter-thick insulation layers and windows are double-glazed. Heating and hot water are powered by a solar-powered heat pump.

+ One Fine Day

Images via Roland Borgmann