Tuesday 05 Nov 2013
Following a simple structure, this brightly-lit timber-framed house was erected on a concrete slab, overcoming many unforeseen design complications and challenges.
The story of the Villa B. followed the classic scenario of construction on a bare site, at the edge of a city, in the middle of market gardens, on a strip of land that was well-oriented. Inspired by the image of F.L. Wright's Usonian Houses and Case Study Houses, the designers 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 designers 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 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.
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. In addition to the clearly-identified living areas, the house has intermediate and multipurpose spaces. This adaptability is a response to the need to manage both privacy and communal life within the family home.