Agro-eco-landscape with a triangular houseArchitecture
Agro-eco-landscape means that food will be grown in a way that supports ecosystem health, while the landscape is designed to foster one's healing through merging with nature. The house supports those goals and is being built right now.
„The house is great, but we find the land more important. We chose that place because we wanted to be as close as possible to nature, to the garden.“ Those magical words by the clients have the power to set the priorities straight: When people choose to live in a place, the house is secondary. It must serve the wellbeing of the land, and the land is not „terrain“ – it is a living organism, part of the ecosystem, starting with the soil.
How does the house support the land?
- It participates in the water cycle by harvesting rainwater and drainage water, for garden irrigation, and by biological purification of waste water, also for garden irrigation.
- It participates in the nutrient cycle through kitchen-waste composting and having enough space to store and process food for own needs and for friends/guests.
- It participates in climate-crisis mitigation by using passive solar energy by means of the large glazed southern elevation (shaded by the roof overhang in the summer).
- It participates in climate-crisis mitigation by using a heat pump for heating and hot water, as well as by being ready for future photovoltaics on the big roof sloping to the south.
- It has a big southern space for communal cooking and eating, which can be totally opened to the land and become a place for socialising and healing for many people, not just the household members.
- The carefully designed windows integrate different parts of the land into the occupants' awareness and everyday rhythm.
- It doesn't take space away from the garden: It is placed on the steepest part of the land, with a northern slope which is not suitable for growing food.
And how does the land work?
- In addition to using rainwater and purified wastewater, it is supplied by surface runoff by means of a shallow ditch that delivers water to the artificial pond.
- It has interconnected and balanced zones for the vegetable garden, flower beds, ducks, chicken, mushrooms, three types of compost, fruit trees, hedge and a seedling greenhouse. As a whole, this system will, year after year, make the soil richer in living beings and carbon and increase the biodiversity and resilience to the climate crisis and other threats.
- The fence prevents the entrance of wild animals in several ways, while bird houses and posts enable biological pest control.
- It has zones with different atmospheres, including a zen garden with a gazebo and a pond, a tree-stump circle around the fireplace, a bench with a desk etc.
- The carefully designed paths enable one to reach all zones without stairs, but it also has stairs for quick communication.
Finally, why the triangle?
Because the house wants to open up to the south through its wide elevation, but it doesn't want to create a wall to the north and, consequently, an unpleasant dark space between the house and the forest. Instead, it turns the truncated triangle tip to the forest, featuring a narrow, 5 meter tall window of the living room.
What are the drawbacks?
The slope creates the need for a lot of reinforced concrete, both for the semi basement and the sustaining walls for the terraced ground. This increases the carbon footprint of materials used.