When Czech architecture firm NEW HOW Architects was asked to design a holiday home in the Ore Mountains, it decided to craft a nature-inspired residence that would go against the trend of white-plaster houses in the area. Rather than design a house that stands out in the landscape, the architects opted for a darker facade so that the retreat — dubbed Weekend House Nové Hamry — would look “as if it has been swallowed up by the forest.” In addition to reducing the visual impact on the surroundings, the architects also aimed to minimize the structure’s environmental footprint. They installed connection points for solar panels and vertical wind turbines to help Weekend House Nové Hamry achieve energy self-sufficiency in the future.
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Completed this year, the Weekend House Nové Hamry takes inspiration from the surrounding spruce trees for its color palette and vertical form. “The design is based on the local nature and color, in which you can find all shades of gray,” the architects explained. “You can see gray in the shades of trees, in granite and basalt rocks, and even in the dark green needles and trunks of the local spruces, which are so typical of the forests of the Ore Mountains.”
As a result, the architects wrapped the roof and most of the facade in durable, anthracite-colored aluminum cladding, which the firm said resembles oiled black wood. To manage heavy snow loads in winter, the angular home is topped with a steeply sloped roof. The architects likened the tall and asymmetrical form to a lookout tower and, inspired by that visual similarity, turned the topmost floor into a refuge with a studio, library and a square window that frames views of the treetops and sky. The sleeping areas, which accommodate up to 10 people, are located on the floor below. The ground floor is reserved for the living area, dining room and kitchen, all of which are arranged around a central wood-burning stove.
Unlike the dark facade, the interiors are lined with light-toned timber and OSB panels. The load-bearing structure is constructed from cross-laminated timber panels. Although Weekend House Nové Hamry is currently used as a creative retreat, the clients plan to inhabit the home year-round in the future and will eventually power it entirely with wind and solar energy.
Photography by Petr Polák via NEW HOW Architects