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A black house in Gdansk inspired by Japanese minimalism. Design by VAME architects

14 of July '21
Technical data
Name: Black House
Investor: private
Location: Poland, Gdansk, Poland
Principal Architect: VAME architekci, Kamil Graczyk
Area: 260 m²
Cubic capacity: 1450 m³


  • design
  • implementation


The design of a black single-family house in Gdansk is a proposal by Kamil Graczyk of VAME architekci. The simple body, built on a T-plan, refers to Japanese minimalism, and the blackness of the wood fired using the traditional Shou Sugi Ban technique blends the building into the numerous trees surrounding the plot.

Czarny dom
w Gdańsku, elewacja wykonana z opalanego drewna

The facade is made of wood-fired

© VAME architects

The building was designed on a T-shaped plan. The main core is formed by a two-story night section with bedrooms and bathrooms. The two side, single-story wings contain the garage and technical rooms on one side, and the living area with kitchen, dining room and living room with large glazing on the other. The shape of the building also made it possible to create two, separate spaces with different purposes in the area. One of them is the entrance area, while the other is the relaxation area which is a large terrace with a view opening.

Czarny dom
w Gdańsku, rzut parteru

The building was designed on a T-shaped plan

© VAME architects

Dobrawa Bies: Black House is a house shaped on a T-plan, distinguished by its dark facade, which at the same time blends in with its surroundings. What were the design inspirations?

Kamil Graczyk: The proposed design solutions were inspired by Japanese minimalism and respect for the surrounding nature. These assumptions are manifested in the simple body of the building, as well as in the way the interiors are shaped. Large glazings harmonize the interior with the surrounding landscape, creating a spectacular whole. In addition, such a solution allows natural illumination of the interiors, which definitely improves the mood and well-being of the residents, while also improving the perception of colors and textures.

Czarny dom
w Gdańsku, pełna światła strefa dzienna

Large glazings harmonize the interior with the surrounding landscape

© VAME architects

Dobrawa: Please tell us about the solutions and materials used.

Kamil Graczyk: The great potential of the plot in question was the existing dense woodland on one side, so it was decided to blend the architecture into the landscape, which resulted in the design of a black facade. The facade of the building was finished with fire-fired wood using the traditional Japanese technique of Shou Sugi Ban, also known as Yakisugi. This technology turns traditional wooden planking into a completely new, original material, resistant to weather, mold, fungi or pests, and the silvery-black color of the wood gives the building elegance.

Czarny dom
w Gdańsku, sypialnia

Each of the interiors was analyzed in terms of window locations

© VAME architects

The design used a minimalist style, creating large, spacious interiors. The main focus was on white, earthy and natural colors, wood and stone. The natural colors, the materials used and the greenery interspersed in the rooms further harmonize the interiors with the surroundings. In addition, each of the interiors was analyzed in terms of the location of the windows, so that when staying in a room or entering it, the surrounding area can be seen on its axis. The above solution further enhances the residents' contact with nature. So it was obvious that the largest glazing would appear in the living area of the house - that is, the living room with dining room and kitchen, from where the most interesting view can be enjoyed.

Dobrawa: What was the challenge in this project?

Kamil Graczyk: The subject was very pleasant to design, and if we should call something a challenge, it was locating the building on the plot taking into account the relief of the land. In order to better blend in with the surrounding landscape, the decision was made to partially dig the building into the slope, so that the building would blend in more with the surrounding tree canopy.

Czarny dom
w Gdańsku

body of the house inspired by Japanese minimalism

© VAME architects

Dobrawa: What do you think a modern house should be characterized by?

Kamil Graczyk: When we talk about a modern house, what immediately comes to mind is a simple and form-saving body of the building. Large glazing and high-quality finishing materials add luxury to the building. In our climatic zone we often lack access to natural light, hence modern houses rely precisely on bright and spacious interiors. At the same time, however, the energy efficiency of the building should not be forgotten. In order to enjoy large glazings, buildings should be equipped with installations using renewable energy sources such as photovoltaic panels, solar installations, heat pumps. Modern houses are also equipped with intelligent functional solutions that allow better management of home appliances and optimization of building operating costs. A modern home, is not only simplicity, minimalism, functionality or equipment with modern technologies. A modern home is also a place where the householder can achieve balance and tranquility, and the combination of all these features is a task that all architects face.

Dobrawa: Thank you for the interview.

interviewed : Dobrawa Bies

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