TGA-planning: Solares Bauen GmbH, Freiburg
Planning of structural framework: Ingéniérie Bois, Schiltigheim
Photos: schnepp + renou
An ultra-low energy house learns to fly: Single-family residence in Marly
Location: Marly-le-Roi, Paris (FR)
Located southwest of Paris, Marly-le-Roi is a relatively quiet and affluent suburb with houses that generally ward off unwanted glimpses with high fences and hedges. But there are exceptions, such as a recently completed ultra-low energy house designed by Mischa Witzmann and Milena Karanesheva of Karawitz, a Parisian architecture office. Setback distances had to be maintained to neighbouring houses but the architects positioned the new building as close as possible to the street in order to introduce a touch of urbanity to the suburban area. A steel fence and a broad sliding gate keep unwanted guests away while obscuring glimpses of the house with its unusual three-part structure. The lowest level consists of a classic tanked concrete basement and the ground and first floor are built in solid wood clad in pre-greyed larch. Between these two sections the architects have inserted a circumferential window band on the same level as the grass, and placed the upper section on slender steel posts, with the result that the building seems to float above the ground.
The driveway leads from the street directly down to the basement level, where the home owner's car is parked and where stacks of firewood are stored. From here the 140-square-metre four-person building continues upwards to the higher storeys, namely by means of a concrete staircase at the basement level, followed further up by slender stairs encased in a solid balustrade folded from a single piece of metal. The central inset wood-burning stove that meets the whole house's heating requirements is situated on the ground floor along with three rooms: a kitchen and a rather intimate living room on the one side, and on the other – two steps up – the dining room, which runs the entire length of the building and which opens up to a terrace facing onto the street. The parents' bedroom and the two children's rooms in the attic storey offer greater personal privacy and are provided daylight by narrow horizontal window bands and skylights.
Raw materials on the inside of the house are generally left exposed or simply whitewashed – as in the case of the walls in solid wood. On the exterior, the facades and roof are constructed in 94 mm cross-laminated timber supplied by an Austrian firm, whereby the outside of the walls additionally have 240 mm wood fibre insulation and 30 mm cladding in larch. The roof is insulated with 320 mm cellulose between I-beam joists and has a standing seam zinc cover.