Hempcrete and High Tech: Single-Family Home in Buchlovice
Client: Ondřej Koníček
Architects: Ateliér Lina Bellovičová
Location: Buchlovice, (CZ)
The house designed by Lina Bellovičová for herself, her husband and their two children stands surrounded by woods near the village of Buchlovice in the southern Czech Republic. The architect’s parents-in-law owned a small weekend house in the area and her husband, a photographer, wanted a similar refuge with its own photo lab in the basement. The building materials were to be as ecological as possible, so hempcrete was chosen for the exterior and interior walls on the ground floor. The flat, broadly protruding roof is lushly planted and will be fitted with photovoltaic panels in the future.
Hempcrete is a mixture of chopped hemp and a lime-based binding agent. Unlike traditional reinforced concrete, it does not require the addition of sand or stone, nor does it need steel reinforcement. It is available in brick form or, as here, is set between casings in a tamped-concrete process. At the house in Buchlovice, the hempcrete walls are 450 to 500 mm thick; a load-bearing wooden skeleton is hidden within them. With their characteristic stratification and colour, they give the building a certain earthy quality. Apart from this, the house features extensive modern technology: large-format sliding glass elements open the living and dining room onto the wraparound wooden terrace, part of which is motorized and can be moved to one side in order to reveal the outdoor stairway leading to the basement.
The basement, whose walls are of concrete blocks, accommodates the photo lab, a rumpus room, storage and technical space. All the important functions in the house can be controlled via a smart-home system steered from a touchpad or smartphone. The home’s heating system is downright extravagant: the basement has several powerful graphics processing units used by the homeowners for mining cryptocurrencies. Waste heat from the GPUs is fed into a subfloor heating system and is enough to heat the house. The family obtains drinking water from a nearby well. For the time being, Lina Bellovičová and Ondřej Koníček want to inhabit the house year-round. Later, they plan to use it as a weekend getaway before returning permanently to enjoy their retirement.