Energy-efficient timber cube designed on prime site in Lyon by Tectoniques Architects
Following a simple structure, this brightly-lit timber-framed house was erected on a concrete slab in the French city of Lyon, overcoming many unforeseen design complications and challenges.
Villa B was designed by Tectoniques Architects on a bare site at the edge of a city in the middle of market gardens. Inspired by the image of Frank Lloyd Wright's Usonian Houses and Case Study Houses, the architects made use of the site's potential to apply the basic principles of the bioclimatic approach.
The house quickly took on the shape of a compact and simple timber cube, open to the surrounding landscape. The architects avoided the temptation of designing this scheme with a predetermined form to match a desired image, but instead asserted a principle of 'no design'.
Using twenty years of experience in environmental issues within design, the firm chose a bioclimatic approach, experimenting with several options and technical solutions, drawing on the benefits of solar energy. A wide range of technical approaches to insulation were considered.
Priority was given to the usage of the house, to the way the inhabitants would live in it, and from there the technology followed. To benefit from solar gain the house is oriented north-south, with the south side of the house open to direct sunlight, enhancing the sense of space within the brightly lit interior.
The scheme takes the form of a compact house, well placed in the middle of its site, with a high-performance envelope. Within the house continual contact with nature has been maintained through the use of sliding partitions and large glazed areas facing each other. A strip of ancillary and storage areas run along the full height of the west wall.
Space heating is mainly provided by floor heating on the ground floor and the upper floor. It is supplied by a condensation gas boiler and solar panels. The double-flow ventilation system is connected to a glycolated ground-air heat exchanger laid at a depth of between 2m and 2.5m to the north of the house, which supplies air at a constant temperature of 12°C.
When necessary, the exchanger can provide additional ventilation at night. During cold peaks, wood-burning stove covers additional heating needs, calculated for the overall volume and instantaneously, particularly for the upper floor.
Waxed concrete and floor heating provide very pleasant thermal comfort. The concrete topping, which is chosen despite the timber structure, provides uniformity of floors on the ground floor and upper floor, in bedrooms, showers and bath rooms. In addition, the roof is planted with a sedum [stonecrap] covering, and rainwater is collected in an underground tank.
Originally posted to World Interiors News.