Amsterdam firm Paul de Ruiter Architects designed a home to provide a comfortable environment all year round while minimising its energy use and impact on a site in a protected ecological area.
In order to build on the site, which is a habitat for many plants and animals, the owners were required to return what had previously been farmland to its original pre-agricultural state. They planted 71,000 young trees that will eventually obscure the house from view and added a rectangular pond above the underground storey.
Energy-saving techniques employed in the building include a fabric screen built into the insulated glazed facade that can be rolled down to reflect the sun, and create a void between the glass and the screen through which ventilation flows. Wood from the private forest will be burned to heat water for the house once the trees have matured, while photovoltaic cells on the roof and a planned windmill will generate electricity.