A cluster of timber boxes make up Haus Koeris, a new eco-friendly home by architecture firm Zeller & Moye. Located near a lake close to Berlin, the sustainable home comprises five staggered boxes that not only step around the mature tree trunks to reduce site impact but are also elevated off the ground to avoid harming the trees’ horizontal root systems. Full-height glazing, a minimalist timber palette and energy-saving systems help reinforce the home’s connection with the outdoors.

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aerial view of home with multiple cube volumes in a forest

Nestled among the tall pine trees in the lakeside village of Klein Köris, Haus Koeris responds to the forested surroundings with its timber construction. Regional spruce wood clads the exterior while solid timber floors and ceilings line the interior, which also features a modular wall system of wooden building blocks and wood fiber-based insulation. To protect the timber home from the seasonally damp soil as well as damage to the root systems of the existing trees, the architects elevated the lightweight building atop individual concrete foundations laid out in a grid. The shifts in floor plan create opportunities for alcoves used for small patios and gardens.

Related: Minimalist villa in Japan boasts dark timber exterior and bright white interior

black chair and dark side table in a bare room with light wood walls and ceilings
dark chair and table and gray rug in a light wood-lined room with large square openings

Spread out across 1,400 square feet on a single level, the irregularly shaped home is centered on a large, open-plan kitchen, dining room and living space that opens up to the outdoors on all four sides. The master bedroom, bathroom and laundry facilities branch off of the great room on the northern end, while a secondary bedroom, storage and flex room are located on the southwest side. Windows have been strategically placed to frame views of the nearby trees and the expansive garden.

cube home with wood exterior
aerial view of home with five cube volumes surrounded by trees

To reduce energy usage, the home is equipped with a wood-fire stove and a biogas boiler for heating in winter. In summertime, operable windows bring in cooling cross breezes. Moreover, a small bio-waste treatment plant was installed onsite to treat all wastewater before releasing it back into the ground. In the future, a series of green roofs will be installed atop the home.

+ Zeller & Moye

Photography by Cesar Bejar via Zeller & Moye