"During the extensive planning process and through a round of several drafts the house became ever more simple – from a fully structured building, fully rendered, in the beginning, to a clear streamlined black wooden cube. Its highlights are the Corten steel used, the large glass frontage and the integrated photovoltaic system."
|External Dimensions||15.08 x 9.45 m|
|Living Space||3118 ft²|
Even at a time when we hadn't yet spared a thought on building a home ourselves, Baufritz had attracted our attention in the distinguished architecture and design journals; we had already taken note of the ecological design houses from the beautiful Allgaeu area of Germany.
We had even once taken an opportunity to go to Erkheim during an open day and were rather impressed.
When we then – against our own time plans – decided to build ourselves, we were sure, that for our particular wishes and the demanding hillside location an especially creative and flexible architect would be needed. At that point we were still open in principle to building a solid brick house.
Important for us was to achieve an exceptional architecture, with a special and individual design.
We followed this up with an "ideas competition", asking a number of different architects in Germany to create suggestions. In parallel we were in talks with Oliver Engelhardt, the Baufritz architect in our region.
Mister Engelhardt was then the one who convinced us of the many advantages of healthy, ecological and all-out energy efficient natural construction and with his first drafts and some more detailed ideas proved his planning creativity to us. Thus, our decision was made for a Baufritz eco house.
For the planning period, we took well over a year's time. During this period, we had a great many long and intense conversations with Mister Engelhardt. During this intensive cooperation, all sides considered and discarded countless ideas. Mister Engehardt for one excelled at understanding our needs and ideas and to translate them into something feasible.
We had garnered many ideas while visiting the "Ideas' House" and the "HomeTailor's" in Erkheim; we discovered unusual solutions for details there. Part of that was seeing a show home with a black wooden façade. This is how our plan evolved for a 3-storey building on a sloped site with an elegant black wooden façade, while the middle storey was to receive a completely glazed eastern side, including "tongs" of Corten steel as a surround. This setting of the glazed part excited us straight away. The Corten steel was then to repeat itself at the balcony on the southern side and as well, rather strikingly, atop the free-floating bathroom oriel on the north side.
A rather wonderful idea by our design house architect was the low-lying glass element on the southern side. Thanks to an exterior water basin, the waves on the surface of the water are artfully reflected inside the house.
We savour this view of the water playing and offering ever changing light reflections.
And talking of views: With the fabulous glazing on the eastern side we are taken in by a dream-like sight of the valley from any viewpoint.
As a great success we regard our bathroom, in which, thanks to the skylight in the free-floating oriel, we enjoy fantastic stargazing while lying in the bathtub.
As a very practical and pleasant solution has turned out our hoist, with which we can bring anything heavy and shopping such as bottles into the upper floors easily.
Energy-wise our efficient house is top notch too: An energy efficiency 40 standard house means that we are using a mere 80 Euros a month for heating, air conditioning and electricity (this includes income from feeding surplus electricity into the mains). Responsible is the perfect organic insulation throughout the building, the triple-glazed wood-aluminium windows and terrace doors and the special home technology concept. Another highlight is our photovoltaic system: vertically integrated, it is barely visible within the southern façade and there are further elements on the roof. These yielded in their first year around 12.000 kilowatts of electricity. Only in the colder months we need to heat at all – yet certainly not just as a necessity and rather for the sheer joy of the fireplace – a designed fireplace – making good use of around 3 cubic meters of wood.
And now we enjoy in all seasons this home, designed completely according to our personal needs and wishes.