Safe House – a house of the future that is amazing, with a highly sophisticated design and is the inspiration for the building of housing in the future. Simple shape, just a square, but this house has some advantages that make it unique, which can be wall to wall in shear and can enable the transfer to home security. when the wall shear then there will be a special exterior space in the can and will become a playground. very suitable for a family. It looks like a modern fortress and is built as such. The Safe House by architect Robert Konieczny of Polish architecture firm, kwk promes, is a giant concrete cube whose walls were designed to move. The house was recently a shortlisted entry for the 2009 World Architecture News Awards.
location : Okrzeszyn, near Warsaw
client : private
architect : Robert Konieczny – KWK Promes
collaboration : Marcin Jojko
site area : 2500 m2
usable floor area : 566,51 m2
volume : 1719 m3
design : 2004
construction : 2005-2008
The body of the building is a cuboid in which parts of the walls are movable. When the house opens up for the garden, eastern and western side walls move towards an exterior fence, creating a courtyard. After passing the gate one cannot enter the house or the garden any other way but through the main door, waiting in that safety zone, for its opening. The innovation of this consists in an interference of the movable walls into the urban structure of the property. Consequently, when the house is closed (at night for example) the safe zone is limited to the house’s outline. During the day, as a result of opening of the walls, it extends to the garden surrounding the house.
The House is situated in a small village at the outskirts of Warsaw. The surroundings are dominated with usual ‘polish cubes’ from the sixties and old wooden barns. The most essential item for the clients was acquiring the feeling of maximum security in their future house. This objective determined building’s outlook and performance.
A giant roll-down gate closing the southern elevation also functions as a movie projection screen. All the movable elements are based on built-in electric motors. The whole building is a concrete monolith, while its mobile parts – for the sake of considerable size – are light steel frameworks filled with mineral wool. As a result, the building is excellently insulated when closed. The whole house and all movable elements are finished with waterproof alder plywood. It resembles wood widely found on surrounding houses and barns, which makes it fit well into the landscape.
Once the house opens, the interior merges extensively with the garden. Wide glazings behind the movable walls let the building acquire energy during the day, in order to store it at night, when the house is closed.
Accomplishment of this idea required a lot of technically complex solutions. The sliding walls (both 2.2m high, 15 and 22m long) are not the only mobile elements of the building. Apart from these, there are large shutters – all 2.8m high, with width ranging up to 3.5m, and a drawbridge, leading to the roof terrace above the swimming pool.
From the architects:
The clients’ top priority was to gain the feeling of maximum security in their future house, which determined the building’s outlook and performance.The house took the form of a cuboid in which parts of the exterior walls are movable. When the house opens up to the garden, eastern and western side walls move towards the exterior fence creating a courtyard.
After crossing the gate one has to wait in this safety zone before being let inside the house. In the same time, there is no risk of children escaping to the street area in an uncontrolled way while playing in the garden.
Movable elements interfering with the site layout
The innovation of this idea consists in the interference of the movable walls with the urban structure of the plot. Consequently, when the house is closed (at night for example) the safe zone is limited to the house’s outline. In the daytime, as a result of the walls opening, it extends to the garden surrounding the house
New type of building
The sliding walls are not dependent on the form of the building. That is why this patent can be applied to both modern and traditional, single- and multi – storeyed houses covered with roofs of different geometry. This universal solution we came up with gives a new type of building where not the form but the way of functioning is the most important. The name: “safe house” gains a new meaning now.
Accomplishment of this idea required the use of technically complex solutions. The most significant are the sliding walls (both 2,2 m high, 22 and 15 m long), which allow to interfere with the urban structure and determine the safe zone of the plot. They are not the only mobile elements of the building. Apart from these, there are large shutters (all 2,8 m high, with a width ranging up to 3,5 m, opening up to 180 degrees) and a drawbridge leading to the roof terrace above the swimming pool. The southern elevation is closed by an enormous roll-down gate of 14 and 6 m manufactured by a company normally supplying shipyards and air companies.
It is made with white anodized aluminum which makes it possible to function as a movie projection screen. All the movable elements are based on built-in electronic engines, that guarantee safe operation. The whole building is a concrete monolith, while it’s mobile parts – for the sake of considerable size – are light steel trusses filled with mineral wool. As a result, the building is perfectly insulated when closed.
The whole house as well as the mobile elements are clad with cement-bonded particleboards – Cetris and waterproof alder plywood fixed to a steel construction and painted with dark wood stain, which resembles the wood widely found on the surrounding houses and barns, and makes it fit well into the rural landscape.
… to Organic
Once the house opens, it’s bright and spacious interior merges extensively with the garden. Wide glazings behind the movable walls let the building acquire energy during the day (winter) or prevent the sun’s heat from going into the house (summer). At night, when the house is closed, the thick outer layer helps the building to accumulate the gained energy. Such a solution together with the hybrid heat system (most of the energy is gained from renewable sources – heat pump and solar systems supported with gas heating) and mechanical ventilation with heat recovery makes the house become an intelligent passive building. Every day the house acts in a similar way – it wakes up every morning to close up after the dusk. This routine reminds of the processes occurring in nature – the house resembles a plant in its day and night cycle.