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Quadrant House

Warsaw, Poland
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The investors wanted a house full of light that would respond to the sun and let them really relax. They liked our Safe House, its variability and the mechanisms creating new relationships with the environment.

The starting point for the design was a regular-shaped plot, located in the suburbs among the plain single-family housing. We placed a block on it perpendicularly to the street, so as to reflect its functionality. Then we turned the ground floor and placed it parallel to the road in order to separate as much of the garden as possible and create space that ensures privacy and peace. Under the "overhang" of the floor from the side of the garden, a living room was situated, and in a perpendicularly aligned block - the SPA area. Both spaces close the intimate part of the garden.

The investors wanted a house that would react to the movement of the sun, and they considered a quadrant - an old device for determining the position of stars. Its shape in the form of a quarter of a circle evoked a connection with part of the garden between the living room and the spa. Hence the idea to turn some part of it into a mobile element reacting to the sun and moving in the garden space. It acts like a circular arm moving between the perpendicular wings of the building.

The kinetic element allows the residents inside to enjoy the shade when "escaping" from the sun, or alternatively, it can always be directed towards the sun and allows them to take a sun bath. An ideal space to unwind.

The amount of sunshine in the spaces of the house to which it adheres can be regulated, depending on the season. In summer it gives the desired shade in the living room or spa, but most importantly, without losing the view and contact with the nature, as it does with standard shutters or blinds. Combined with the possibility of full opening of the glazing, the interior of the house can become a roofed part of the garden throughout the warm season. The natural ventilation and shading means no need to use air conditioning at all. In the cold months, when the sun is low, moving the mobile element away from the elevation allows for better illumination of the rooms and their natural heating by the sun rays.

Depending on its position, the mobile element has different functions, from a free-standing, roofed terrace, to a quiet bower that protects against the wind when pulling the shades. When it "parks" along one of the elevations it becomes an extension of the house like a loggia.

The investors' wish was a house with a flat roof, but the local master plan imposed pitched one, so we reconciled the client's requirements with the local law, and from the street side the house has a gable roof smoothly changing into a flat one from the garden side. The result is a non-standard body of the house.

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The innovation of this project is based on the use of a kinetic element, which is more than just a gadget on the facade. It is a fully-fledged fragment of the house, which moves, changing the functionality of individual rooms and the garden. It allows the building to react better to changing weather conditions or seasons, and at the same time significantly improves the energy balance therein - in summer it protects the rooms against overheating, while in winter provides better absorption of solar energy.

It is worth noting that the mobile solution in the Quadrant House brings a number of benefits and broadens the possibilities of using the building. It creates new ways of opening up to the sun or shielding from it, it has also allowed to replace roller blinds or shutters, the drawback of which is cutting rooms off from the surroundings.

The solution used in the Quadrant House inspired us to another project where a mobile element covers not only the building but also a large part of the garden. This is how the patent was born, which may be a response to constructing in difficult conditions of hot climate, if protection from the sun is the biggest challenge. From the quadrant we moved on to a rotating wing that revolves around the house, following the movement of the sun, constantly casting a life-giving shadow over the building and part of the garden. And the kinetic element allows the use of full glazing and full opening of the building's interiors to the garden with the facade always remaining in the shade anyway (even standard glazing can be used). Thanks to this, the house does not need energy-consuming air conditioning, the shade provides it with coolness, and so does the opening to the environment introducing natural ventilation and airing. Most importantly, the house, thanks to photovoltaic panels placed on a rotating wing, always facing the sun, works like a perpetual motion machine. It constantly produces energy which allows the wing to operate continuously and rotate around the house every day according to the movement of the sun. The number of panels even allows the building to achieve energy self-sufficiency or even a plus energy standard.