THE RAMMED EARTH HOUSE
Lelese, Woodsmen Land, Hunedoara County / 2012-2016 / 300 mp / 210.000 EUR (PNDR Grant)
Architecture remains a hollow experience, opaque and shallow as long as you experience it merely through drawings or discourse. The process is complete only when you add research and experiment. Only when you are both architect and client at the same time. Or even more so, when you build yourself. The project is an investment belonging to the studio, an act that alters the established triad of Client – Architect – Constructor and turns it into a binomial (Architect=Client) + Constructor. Once in a while, it becomes a monologue because, when the construction is in trouble, the only option is hand-on, entering the circle of friends, voluntary work and purple fingernails. But the energy around which Architecture happens is different, because the motivation to make Architecture changes.
The place has strength. Its stillness demands respect. One hectare of land mid-way between two villages, a pasture and grounds where wild boars and wondering sheep sometimes stumble in. You can only build here if you are small (the volume of the house arranges itself in three smaller ones, covered in wooden shingles), natural (of stone, earth, wood, lime) and steady (can you build with being aggressive?)
As an architect, it pains you to strive for more and not be assigned to do so. In our case, the need to experiment turned into a research contract with INCERC Timișoara for testing rammed earth probes. The output was directly used în the design process.
Broken down in three parts, the house slides one part in reference to the other to blend in the landscape but still perfectly align with the cardinal points. The main rammed earth volumes, whitewashed, remain grounded, with a minimal height, but breathe and are lit through the light coming down from the roof through three different long, narrow, skylights. The rooms open up towards the valley, to the south.
Under the spell of the theory, the place gets filled with the latest trends in sustainable technology – photovoltaic panels, wind turbines, off-grid energy systems, energy storage units, radiant hot water heating panels, automation, monitoring, a thermal fireplace, collection and rainwater reuse, advanced sensors. All bound in a functionally coherent whole that makes the place energetically-autonomous.
It is the place that ends up teaching us that the solution to a problem brought on by technology will never come from technology itself.
— The investment was financed through European Grant for Structural Funds (PNDR, M313).
The project took part at :
2016 – BETA – The Timișoara Architecture Biennale, awarded for the Services Category
2016 – Euroinvent: 8th European Exhibition of Creativity and Innovation (Gold Medal, Innovative research / Premiul Arheoinvest Platform)
2016 – SRCC Simposium 2016
2016 – International Conference Green Energy Solutions, Timișoara, UVT 2014 – IAPS 23rd International Conference Transition to Sustainable Societies: Rammed Earth Houses as a Sustainable Construction System
2013 – East Centric Architecture Triennale / Innobuild