House behind the roof/ Superhelix Pracownia Projektowa

Situated in the suburban zone of Krakow in Poland, this project is part of a housing estate consisting of 10 single-family houses. The house is hidden from access road and northern neighbours behind the roof surface to ensure the residents’ privacy, and resulting in its name – House behind the Roof.

As the city transforms from dynamic development, more and more natural areas are being developed, the ecological designing approach is all the more necessary. The northern roof of the building is covered with succulents and photovoltaic cells were placed on a well-sunlit southern part.

The green roof has a 45-degree slope, as local building law did not allow the construction of a traditional flat green roof. This solution was much more expensive, although the green roof surface significantly exceeded the area occupied by the building. It can be said that what has been taken from nature has been given back with interest.

A key element of the building is the use of laminated timber with diagonally guided elements and undercuts at the edges of the roof. Exposed not only outside, the wood also penetrates to the interior of the building. At the point where the two roof slopes connect, windows are built in to let in plenty of light. Windows are mounted high above ground floor, allowing for very efficient natural ventilation when opened.

In the Superhelix studio, special attention is always paid to how building changes over time and what happens with used materials. The elevation of the building was covered with a Western Red Cedar planks, which are not protected from weather conditions and insects – it simply does not require it, in time it will take on a noble patina and change its color to silver-gray. The green roof also does not need special care. It does not require watering, long-lasting dry periods are not an issue. It is guaranteed by the shady northern exposure and the plants water retention.

 (All images are credited to Bartlomiej Drabik.)