The challenge was to design a highly efficient eco house with a modern architectural language that adapts itself to the traditional surrounding of Tudor and Neoclassicism-style buildings. The architect needed to find a way to re-interpret the strict language of the former styles as a base for his own eco-design.
Repeating and transforming former styles is a common method throughout architectural history. For instance, the 19th-century Neoclassicism can be seen as a revival of 18th-century geometric Classicism style, which again comes from the antique Greek and Roman architecture. The typical elements of this style are monumental vertical columns and horizontal components of buildings, such as architrave and tryptic found in antique temples. Neoclassicism is known for its strict and clear lines and gave the fundamental concept for the house.
The British Tudor style, named after the Tudor’s dynasty, is a playful historical style from the 16th century, which can be seen as the transition between the late Gothic and the early Renaissance architecture. Typical elements of the Tudor style are the wooden-based half-timbering construction, bay windows and numerous turrets. The abundant usage of wood is exactly what inspires modern eco designs.
House Woloszczuk has been designed by merging these two distinctly different architectural styles. The wide blackened timber planks within the typically white rendered facades skilfully indicate the timber frame structure while the vertical space development and the wooden horizontal platforms reference to Neoclassicism.
The whole house, starting from lower ground floor, is extending strictly in a vertical direction. The house does not have a conventional basement; rather a lower ground floor with direct access to the back garden. At the rear, the interior of the house opens up with a three-storey atrium connecting all social areas. As one progresses up through the house, it takes on an increasingly private and enclosed character. The atrium, which takes inspiration from a ballroom, delivers the sense of space and height needed to accommodate all four floors.
Towards the front is a number of quiet private living spaces and a guest bedroom opening up to the main open-plan living area. The clever use of interacting functions situated around the atrium and opening to the garden makes the house something special. Bedrooms are located on the first floor. It hosts various guestrooms as well as the master bedroom, offering a fantastic panoramic view over the garden from its own terrace. Furthermore, there is a library and a spa area with a Finnish sauna.
A large children’s play area dominates the second floor. Additionally, there are two bathrooms and three more bedrooms on the top floor.
Ralf Pflugfelder developed an innovative concept of several floors designed as open-spaced platforms, completely different from a conventional house, which is usually based on monumental columns on the ground floor. The architect’s goal was to create a spacious and transparent building, which hits today’s requirements of energy efficiency and ecological aspects. Both heat insulation and ecological materials were important aspects of the project.
A large part of the house is built using local natural wood; several green zones are integrated within the house. The spacious atrium opens over four floors and creates a healthy, mild microclimate that improves air quality in the house.
The Built It Award has acknowledged the architect’s solution of a perfect blend of traditional architectural styles inspired by the local historical context of this district of London with modern, ecological architecture and customer’s requirements for large open spaces and all imaginable comfort.
Wooden construction in prefabricated houses
As in this project, most prefabricated houses take advantage of timber construction. The material is known for its high energy-efficiency and also is classified as ecological, if it has been sourced locally. Wood is a 100% recyclable material and doesn’t have any negative impact to the environment. No plastic covers are necessary to protect the material during shipping or storage.
The prefabrication process dramatically cuts down the construction time on site. Consequently, wooden buildings become less expensive as compared to traditional brick construction. Additionally, the assembly of prefabricated houses does not require any use of water. The house is completely waterproof after assembly and no extra time needs to be allowed for the building to dry, which sometimes can take several weeks in northern regions.
House Woloszczuk uses both methods; conventional and timber frame construction, to fulfil the owner’s wishes and make the architect’s concept possible. The outstanding result demonstrates what today’s eco-architecture is able to accomplish.
As a pioneer of healthy house building, Baufritz is a forerunner when it comes to building energy-efficient wooden houses. With its healthy and exclusive houses, its customers do not have to sacrifice their quality of living, because it combines all aspects.