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A house with a donkey house, or a project from Also Architects

Wiktor Bochenek
04 of April '22

Is it possible to combine a house, barn and donkey house in an interesting and practical way? In addition, betting on the dominance of glass in the design? A unique design for a house in Kujawy was created by the studio Też Architekci.

plan zagospodarowania terenu wokół Też... light farm

The landscaping plan around the Taj... light farm

visions. Architectural Craftsmanship, © Też Architekci

The dream of the investors was to create an ecological farm, which would be located in Kujawy. It was important to refer to traditional farms that housed everything under one roof.

The property is to be a place where onotherapy - therapy that uses donkeys - will be conducted. The Also... light farm will also include space for donkey milk processing. Such diverse functions, along with their sensible combination, were the most difficult part in the design process.

Architect Malgorzata Siekanko of Też Architekci talks about the history of the project, the idea for the house, and combining economic and residential functions.

Wiktor Bochenek: Starting from the beginning - what was the competition for this house like?

Malgorzata Siekanko: The adventure with this project began when one day we received a professionally prepared PROGRAM for Minimal Farm from Belgium in our mailbox. The clients had purchased a beautiful property in the Kuyavia region and decided to launch a competition for architects.

We love contests (and the reality doesn't allow us to participate in them too often lately) so we eagerly got to work. The task was to prepare a preliminary concept for the entire site.

The idea was that the future residents would like a house, which, following the example of old farms, would house the living area and the livestock area under one roof. The livestock is to be donkeys, reared for onotherapy and donkey milk processing.

We began our work on the project by gathering information on running a donkey farm in Poland. We learned that donkeys like dry light soil, lots of sunshine, but also peace and quiet. The plot was also to include a suitable place for an orchard, a vegetable garden, a natural sewage treatment plant, additional pasture and a piece of forest.

The clients, as they later told us, were captivated by the completely different location of the building on the plot (we took into account the preferences and the enclosure for donkeys, which became the main guideline for the location of the building) and the idea of how to combine the residential building and the livestock building in one architectural block (with a vestibule - native to old country farms).

istotnym czynnikiem w tym projekcie było dzikie otoczenie i kujawski krajobraz

An important factor in this project was the wild surroundings and the kujawski landscape of the

visions. Architectural Craftsmanship, © Też Architekci

Wiktor Bochenek: What was most important when designing the massing of the Też... Light House?

Malgorzata Siekanko The most important thing was probably to keep the division between the livestock and residential zones simple, and to create a connector and at the same time a buffer between them in the form of a vestibule.

At a later stage, it was quite a challenge to match the whole body with the already existing window divisions, which came to the plot from Belgium, from the dismantled facade of the office building.

A new challenge for us was also to design a natural wastewater treatment plant for the entire site, taking advantage of the existing significant slope of the land, a natural water pond and the lowest wetland at the road itself and the lower border of the plot.

Też... ligh farm ma łączyć funkcję mieszkaniowe, gospodarcze i techniczne

Also. light farm is to combine the functions of residential, economic and technical

visas. Architectural Craftsmanship, © Also Architects

Wiktor Bochenek: How were the residential and livestock parts combined?

Małgorzata Siekanko The donkey house and the house are connected and divided by a space that serves as a vestibule on the first floor, and on the first floor there will be a tank for rainwater, used in the bathroom and kitchen on the first floor.

Wiktor Bochenek: You refer to the work of Bengt Warne - how did his architecture influence your design?

Malgorzata Siekanko Inspired by the designs of Bengt Warne, the Swedish eco-architect, the house as well as the entire plot of land will be organized in a way that allows the residents to live as close to nature as possible. Warne created houses that, by adding a "glass shell" (GLASSROOM), were given another-fourth dimension.

In this dimension, time according to Warne was represented by the endless cycles of the seasons, and with them the cycles of sun, rain, wind, birth, growth, maturation... The whole premise in Warne's case was to co-create nature.

In our case, the greenhouse took the form of a barn, which combines the house, the donkey house and the vestibule into one block. The opening of the slope was thought out in such a way as to facilitate the ventilation of the building and the use of the wind, the sun, its warmth and light, thus allowing the terraces on the first floor and balconies on the first floor to be used year-round.

Under the roof itself, on the wooden "box" of the house-patterned after Warne`s concept-a space with favorable climatic conditions for year-round cultivation of herbs and seedlings was created.

szkło i drewno to najważniejsze materiały

Glass and wood are the most important materials used in this project

vision. Architectural Craftsmanship, © Też Architekci

Wiktor Bochenek: How was the interior of the house organized?

Margaret Siekanko The residential house is about sixty square meters of first floor space and a bedroom area on the first floor. In addition, there are guest rooms on the first floor accessible from the outside.

The interior of the living area was laid out around a multipurpose chimney. The most elaborate part of it is located on the kitchen side.

Next to it is a small living room organized so that the sitting area is also on the stairs leading to the upstairs bedroom, "glued" to the warm chimney on the other side. On the third side of the chimney is a bathroom with a bathtub also taking advantage of its heat.

On the first floor the beds in the bedrooms are attached to the chimney.In the other part of the building is a donkey house and above it - a barn. On the north wall of the house there is a ramp to access the barn above the donkey house and the guest rooms. The donkey barn and the house are connected by a space that serves as a SITUATION on the first floor, and on the first floor there will be a rainwater tank in this place.

Też... light farm

Also... light farm

visas. Architectural Craftsmanship, © Also Architects

Wiktor Bochenek: How does the Also... Light House interact with its immediate surroundings?

Malgorzata Siekanko It is a large block located at almost the highest point of a very large plot of land, surrounded by forest walls. Through its compact form, materials and planned use of the entire site, it is likely to leave a negligible carbon footprint in its surroundings.

By its very form, this more than thirty-meter-long building will reflect and absorb sunlight during the day, and, illuminated from within at night, create such a specific Light Farm in a green clearing....

wizualizacja Też.... light farm

visualization Also.... light farm

visions. Architectural Craftsmanship, © Also Architects

Wiktor Bochenek: What was the most difficult part of designing Też... Light House, and what are you most proud of?

Malgorzata Siekanko The whole design process was difficult, but very interesting.

Starting with meetings with clients in the form of two-day workshops in our studio, through the effort to put all the needs and ideas into one proportional block; to composing everything on the plot so that it works.

We are looking forward to the implementation.

Wiktor Bochenek: Thank you for the interview!

wizualizacja Też.... light farm

visualization Also.... light farm

vision. Architectural Craftsmanship, © Also Architects

developed by Wiktor Bochenek

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