House G, a striking vacation home by Lode Architecture
Not far from the coast of Normandy sits this unique family house. Its black slate covering and sharply defined edges give it a striking appearance, yet it seems at home in its rural setting. It also has a unique structural system using a construction technique that we have not seen before. The small house was designed by Lode Architecture to serve as a vacation home for a young family.
All the walls consist of three layers of boards laminated together into large panels that were prefabricated off-site. The panels were lifted into place by crane and then insulated on the outside before the slate was applied. The ceilings and the inside surfaces of the exterior walls were plastered, but the boards of all the interior walls were left exposed as the final wall finish.
The structural bearing walls divide the house lengthwise into three parts, defining the main rooms on each level. The floor levels of the ground floor step up with the slope of the land, creating varying ceiling heights throughout the house. The eat-in kitchen at the low end of the house has a higher ceiling than the bathroom at the other end, while the living room in the middle is open to the roof above.
The south wall of the living room was made all glass for solar heat gain. Sliding glass doors open the living area to the large wooden deck. Having only a huge south-facing window would have resulted in extremely uneven lighting across the living room. Windows on at least two sides help to balance out the light levels in a big room. Here the architects achieved the same result by putting five light pipes through the roof (one of which can be seen in the second photo above), bringing daylight into the north side.
The 100 m2 (1,076 ft2) home has two main bedrooms plus a small room that could be used for extra sleeping space. The bedrooms are at either end of the upper floor, with the master bedroom reached by a bridge spanning the living room. Both bedrooms have an interior window looking out over the living room. On the ground floor there is a low-ceiling room with a raised entry floor. Although shown with a large mattress that pretty much fills the entire space, it seems to be designed to be more of a kids’ secret playspace than an actual bedroom. Adults would have to crawl to enter the space.
With rigid foam insulation applied on the outside of the walls, the architects were able to achieve high levels of insulation and air tightness. As a result the whole house can be heated using just the wood stove in the living room. The interior windows allow the heated air to circulate up into the bedrooms.
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