Small Eco Houses – 6×11 Alpine hut
We are starting one of the new series of articles which will feature stories about small ecological houses from all over the world. In most cases, the projects we’re going to write about are used as weekend cabins planned on passive and combined with active architectural principals. The hut described in this article is situated in a small Alpine village Stara Fužina near Lake Bohinj, Slovenia.
The location is a part of the Triglav national park with very strict rules on construction and architectural design. The client bought the site together with an existing construction permit for a generic project. The demand of the client was to change the elements of the house to suit his family – to position the openings toward the views and to increase its sustainability. Project was commissioned on September 2007, construction started in 2008 and it was completed at 2009.
Designed by OFIS Arhitekti from Slovenia, Alpine hut covers internal net surface of 95 square meters (1022 square feet) and gross area of 105 square meters (1130 square feet). It is a well isolated simple volume house of 6 x 11 meters with a roof inclination of 42 degrees, and its passive acclimatization allows reduction of energy consumption. The overall costs of the construction were 150,000 Euros.
A new house has kept external dimensions and material types from the existing old one. Elements from stone, wooden columns and façade patterns are all sourced from the local environment, and as such they correspond to the surrounding typology.
Slightly lifted on pillars, small porch was created by eaves. The upper floor is cantilevered over the front of the ground floor and acts as a sun protector in the summer when the sun and temperatures are higher. Rain water is collected from the roof and transported through vertical pipes which are inserted into wooden beams.
Extra thermal insulation is used between the wooden cladding – both in exterior and interior. Black foil that is placed behind the wood absorbs the heat of the sun and transfers it onto the walls.
Interior organization suits the needs of the family and is very rational. The ground-floor is an open-plan room with kitchen for dining and living. Since the ground-floor level is lower than the outdoor porch area, the window shelves act as a sitting and resting area in level with the porch outside, and they offer stunning views toward the mountains. On the top floor there are 3 bedrooms and a bath with sauna, showing that sustainability can be compatible with comfort and commodity. A corridor is practically eliminated what gave more space to rooms.
The central staircase rotates around the fireplace that heats both floors. Aside being heated by fireplace, the hut relies in its large corner windows which are oriented towards the sun and offer passive heating during sunny winter days when no heating is required.
The 6×11 Alpine hut is an excellent example of architecture which employs passive systems that rely on object’s design and construction instead additional systems used to crate more pleasant living areas.