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INvisible house. Design of a house for the visually impaired recognized in an international competition

Dobrawa Bies
15 of September '21

{Student}, an architecture student at the Cracow University of Technology, received second prize in the Homefutura competition organized by UNI competitions. The task sought a new definition and form of the house of the future. The INvisible house project, appreciated by the jury, is a single-family house made of natural materials and designed for the visually impaired.

home, that is?

The task of the international Homefutura competition organized by the UNI competitions platform was to design a single-family house, a house of the future that corresponds to the idea of a house that changes according to place, people, culture, time, social conditions and other myriad aspects. Participants had no restrictions on the location of the project, its size or the included functions. The first guideline was to describe and define the meaning of a house, and the next was to reflect this definition in the form of a design.

INvisible house

The house was designed with natural brick and raw concrete

© Patryk Włodarczyk

second prize for PK student

The competition received entries from all over the world, among which an international jury composed of: Deirdre Renniers (Deirdre Renniers Interior Design), Kerrie Kelly (Kerrie Kelly Design Lab), Neil Dusheiko (Neil Dusheiko Architects), Aleksandra Kurc (MAKA.STUDIO) selected eleven winners. Two grand prizes, nine honorable mentions and the audience prize were awarded.

The second prize went to INvisible house - a house for the visually impaired, a project by Patryk Wlodarczyk, a student at the Cracow University of Technology.

Elewacja frontowa

INvisible house is a safe shelter for a visually impaired person

© Patryk Wlodarczyk

A house should be a safe refuge adapted to the individual needs of its inhabitants. INvisible house is a house for a visually impaired person who perceives the variation of light. The play of light and shadow is an important element of the building's accessibility, which adapts to the resident and creates the best living conditions for him. Each room in my design has its own individual lighting character. On the other hand, the shape of the building refers to the surroundings and uses local materials, so that, as much as possible, it fits into the landscape," says Patryk Wlodarczyk.

INvisible house, plan
zagospodarowania terenu

The house is located near Kosciuszko Mound

© Patryk Wlodarczyk

Inspiration of Kosciuszko Mound

The main inspiration for the student living in Cracow became the Kosciuszko Mound towering over the city, which is part of the former Fortress of Cracow. It was in its vicinity that the author decided to design a house, using brick for its construction - a material that fits well with the surroundings.

The design of the modern fortress is an interpretation of the house as an asylum and a literal retreat from reality. In this design there are two worlds - the outside and the inside. The inside opens up to nature and its benefits. The exterior is a literal protection/barrier from the world," the author adds.

INvisible house
wpisany w zbocze terenu

The house is inscribed into the slope of the plot, and the green roof melts it into the surroundings

© Patryk Włodarczyk

a modern fortress inscribed in the terrain

The southern slope of the plot on which the building is located offers plenty of natural light. Such a location allowed the young architect to connect the house with the surrounding nature, and thanks to the fact that the block is embedded in the slope, the building became almost invisible. The dominant construction material is natural brick, and its combination with raw concrete gives the building an interesting character. The brick, made of red fired clay, refers to sculpture, the art most accessible to people with visual disabilities.

INvisible house, rzut

An open floor plan and reliefs in the floor facilitate communication

© Patryk Włodarczyk

light, sensory gardens and sculpture room

The open plan of the living area of the house facilitates communication, while large glazings bring in daylight and direct the user to the appropriate room. Thanks to the openwork brick walls, each room has individually designed diffused lighting to facilitate orientation in the interior. Also, the bricks on the front facade are arranged in a distinctive way to lead the occupants straight into the house. Special reliefs in the floor that meet the brick walls help those who can't see the light reach the appropriate rooms.

Liczne ogrody

In the building we can find numerous sensory gardens

© Patryk Wlodarczyk

Rooms are separate blocks placed in line with the sides of the world. Private rooms are clearly separated from each other, creating intimate spaces. In addition to the rooms typical of houses, the author designed a sculpture room adapted to the needs of the visually impaired.

Sculpture is one of the few visual arts that a visually impaired person can create and feel, explains Patryk Wlodarczyk.

One of the guidelines of the competition was to include rooms that provide privacy and contact with nature in the design. The architect proposed, therefore, many small gardens accessible directly from the rooms. The square sensory gardens were divided into sections: touch, hearing, smell, thus fitting in with the therapy to stimulate the senses of people with disabilities.

Relaks przed domem

The brick used in the design refers to Kosciuszko Mound

© Patryk Włodarczyk

The INvisible house project also received the Rector's Award from the Cracow University of Technology.

See also the design of a modular house growing with the needs of the residents by Sylwia Turkot and FAMILOFT21 by Klaudia Elsner, referring to Silesian familoks.

We would like to remind you that the student competition HEALTHYHOUSE is underway. We are looking for designs of single-family and multi-family houses that are user- and nature-friendly, functional and created with the residents in mind. Submit your works.


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