Passive Prefab: Scaled Modern House Acts as Catalyst for Heat



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A compact geometric house tucked into a tranquil field in Sint-Pieters-Leeuw, Belgium features an inner metal structure that’s detached from the skin, holding onto warmth to cut back on energy consumption. NU architecturetelier designed the house to be a catalyst for heat, using sandwich panels like those normally seen in industrial buildings as insulation to result in walls that are a whopping 25 centimeters (9.8 inches) thick.

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Expansive windows cover the south and east sides of the home to draw in as much sunlight as possible during the day, storing it in the walls for slow release at night to eliminate the need for any other heat source. The glazing is set back from the facade with significant overhangs to shade it during the summer.

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The house’s skin is made of sandwich panel in a sort of snake scale pattern, with pops of bright color in the form of neon green doors punctuating its neutral tone. “Without falling into the syndrome of a Tupperware energy home with superfluous technological novelties, this house demonstrates that spatial and visual relationships can be realized by going into direct dialogue with the surrounding context,” say the architects. “A barn quietly anchored into the landscape.”

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It’s also a great example of how a house that appears quite small from the outside can feel very spacious throughout the interior, with high ceilings, pale wood, built-in storage and lofts giving it a sense of openness.

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