Location: Thuringia, Germany
Total floor area: 248 m²
Architects: Paul de Ruiter Architects
Project team: Willem Jan Landman
Photography: © Pieters Kers & Patrick Voigt
Villa K, located in Thüringen, is the first German project for Paul de Ruiter Architects. The energy neutral villa, discrete and integrated in the natural environment, strongly reflects the wishes of the client and adheres to minimalist principles. The result is a straightforward, innovative residence built from only glass, steel and concrete.
Rooms with a view
The sustainable house is placed facing south in consideration of the amazing views as well as the path of sunlight to maximize efficiency. A glass façade, stretching from roof to floor, demarcates the living areas. The glass façade, without any disruptions such as windows or outdoor sun blinds, reflects nothing but the air and offers amazing views over the valley. Around the living area a U-shaped terrace is constructed. A pool intersects the interior of the house while extending towards the southern edge, which makes it seem to float above the hill.
The addition of a lifting platform across the pool makes the terrace visually appear to continue. This platform can be pulled up when deciding to go for a swim. Around the terrace a garden is arranged with vegetable crops and fruit trees.
Unity with the mountain scenery
The entrance, technical areas, pantry, hunting room and garage with room for six cars are located on the north side, moved into the slope of the mountain. The complete roof structure of the villa is covered with moss and sedum, alternated with solar cells, which reduces the cooling load.
Energy neutral because of its location
A climatologically interesting and sustainable situation is created through the orientation towards the south and by placing a large part of the house into the mountain slope. The south side receives large amounts of sunlight and warmth, while the ‘subterranean’ part of the house contains cold air. A heat exchanger implemented in the villa collects this warm and cold air and transports it to the heat pump. The heat pump stores cold air to cool in the summer and saves warm air to heat the house during winter times. This system is connected to a cooling ceiling and underfloor heating. A delicate and completely computerized computer system steers these stainable heating and cooling systems.
Paul de Ruiter Architects
All images courtesy of Paul de Ruiter Architects | © Pieters Kers & Patrick Voigt
Paul de Ruiter Architects
Paul de Ruiter is an architect, entrepreneur, innovator and inspirator known for his sustainable, game changing architecture. De Ruiter has been contributing to the national and international debate about sustainability, CO2-neutral design and building certification methods. He is a frequently asked lecturer internationally, writes articles for professional journals and teaches at the Dutch Technical Universities.
De Ruiter completed his studies at the Delft University of Technology (The Netherlands) in 1990, where he started his doctoral dissertation “The Chameleon Skin” in 1992. In his PhD research he argues that buildings should produce rather than consume energy. Before founding his own Amsterdam-based office in 1994 he worked at leading architectural offices in Canada, Australia and the Netherlands.
Sustainable design is part of Paul de Ruiter’s DNA. His buildings are designed to allow the façades to respond intelligently to sunlight, enabling to maximize energy gain and storage. This is what gives his architecture its unique, recognizable and innovative appeal. Many of these climate façades are developed by himself, as his motto is ‘practice what you preach’. Moreover, De Ruiter believes architecture should not only generate energy in technical terms, but also in terms of the human factor. Values like happiness and inspiration combined with measurable factors such as daylight optimization to make intelligent, sustainable buildings.
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