Architects KWK Promes – architect Robert Konieczny
Authorial collaboration architect Łukasz Marciniak
Collaboration architects Marcin Harnasz; Aneta Świeżak
Structural engineering Kornel Szyndler
Investor Robert Konieczny
Project 2011
Realization May 2011 – Nov 2015
Location Brenna – Poland
Site area 1694 m2 (18.200 sq ft)
Gross covered area 78 m2 (840 sq ft)
Usable floor area 138 m2 (1.485 sq ft)
Volume 624 m3 (22.000 ft3)
Bedrooms 3

Plans / Elevations

Ark House

From the architects:
The highest value of our plot was a wonderful view stretching out. After two years of designing, I finally got the project. When everything seemed to be ready, a unprecedented risk of landslip appeared in polish mountains. Even though our plot was not in danger of a landslip, just in case, I modified the design to be in the symbiosis with the nature.

The concept

The idea for the house was to become a framework that crops a view. The most appropriate building turned out to be a fully open to the mountain landscape, one-storey building, which gives the same view to all of the interiors.

Because of the plot being located in an absolute wilderness a problem of security came out. The solution turned out to be “twisting” the building so as only its one corner touches the ground and the rest is hang over the edge of the hill. With this solution, part of the ground floor where the bedrooms were located was pulled up to the level of the first floor.

To limit the movement of the subsoil – because that is the main cause of a landslip, I decided to support the house on three  independent walls and treat it as a bridge, under which rain water flows naturally.

Realities of mountain landscape as well as the local law constrained a gable roof.

To tense the construction of three supporting walls as well to create a necessary technical space, the idea came up, to make it by „inverted roof”, slightly lifted over ground, allowing natural water to flow. Its undercut optimized the construction and gave the feeling of security by the impression of „floating” above the slope.

Finally I got  the form of the house, which started to resemble the ark – so that’s why the name – Konieczny’s Ark.

Construction as a facade

The building was supposed to be cheap and easy to construct. That is why I decided on insulating it from the inside, the concrete structure became an finished elevation. This is how I got rid of complicated details and finish, they were replaced by poured concrete from a local producer. Sprayed closed-cell-structure foam turned out to be the optimal insulation. It is also a vapour barrier.

Because of big glazing in the house, I wanted to design a shutter to avoid an overheating. Additionally, my wife asked for effective way of closing the entrance of the house. The shutter was made of 10-meters movable wall and a drawbridge, which connects the functions of shutter and stairs.

The garden

I was thinking, how to design a garden around the house. After some time I realized, that the building site is a part of the whole mountain, therefore the best garden design would be lack of it, so on the best fence would be a temporary herding fence, the best path – few rocks. Therefore, with that approach, I finally got the best garden – pure, surrounding nature. That is why, I also didn’t wanted to put a lightning on the site, that would destroy its own natural appearance – so that idea came up – to lighten up the concrete body of the Ark – a body becomes reflector and whole house – a lamp.

House on the pasture

Animals, living on the pasture around our house, started to treat the Ark, specially the space below the concrete body as their home – they can find a shelter there during rain and strong wind or they can simply rub themselves up the edges of Ark. We would never thought, that when at the beginning, the name, Konieczny’s Ark came from the form of the building, life will add the second meaning to it.

KWK Promes – Robert Konieczny

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