BLACKED HOUSE 2021
BLACKED HOUSE 2021


The Stacked House was completed in 2013 and won the KFW prize for Sustainable Row Houses in 2014. A row house with a difference because the dividing line between each house follows the volumes in a stacking pattern, shifting in all four cardinal directions.
 It is a house with just one layer separating it from the outside world. This layer is made of extruded ceramic bricks filled with expanded volcanic glass granules and stacked in a stretcher bond. Only a light micro-thin coating of waterproofing slurry differentiates the interior surface from the other side. So the laying of one element upon the other remains visible inside and out.
The windows and openings are detailed so that they hug the outer surface of the house with only the thickness of a piece of aluminium between their surface and that of the bricks. A band of aluminium of similar thickness protects the layer of insulation at the nose of each floor.
The house is a challenge to current building norms that insist on many layers for reasons hazily founded in insulation requirements and protection against the inclemencies of the weather.
Despite its fragility in the face of such ideas about building, the stacked house behaves extremely well in terms of energy use and has had to face only the minor repairs that come with all new buildings in their teething phase.
The building began to be inhabited by people in what some would call an unfinished state, things like gates, partitions, doors, handrails and bannisters arrived bit by bit according to need. The application of new transformative coatings with properties like ultra-high insulation, light reflection and acoustic absorption were also envisaged once they came on the market. As time passed and the walled garden matured it became clear that if the stacked house was to address the climate crisis realistically it needed to be regenerative and not merely sustainable.
In 2021 an open skin of vertical planks of charred Larchwood was installed on the Garden side. The charring transforms the larch into an extremely powerful carbon sink. The spaces between planks (3cm) and between the planks and the bricks (5cm) provide a home for many types of non-human inhabitants, from bats to birds to insects and biopatina. And the looseness of the hanging allows the façade beneath to reappear intermittently. This process of regeneration also facilitated a good and thorough maintenance and repair.
BLACKED HOUSE 2021
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Michelle Howard

BLACKED HOUSE 2021

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