Villa K. by grabowski.spork architektur | International Residential Architecture Awards 2020

grabowski.spork architektur: Winner of International Residential Architecture Awards 2020. The idea of renovating an existing cottage on the edge of a small village on a hillside in the Taunus region in Germany near the river Rhine became an architectural revelation for the owner. The Project ends up with a spectacular conversion into a 3,800 sf villa with an incomparable view into the landscape.

The entire volume of the three-storey house remains invisible from the street. From the surrounding, small-scale and rather rural architecture the design stands out clearly. The dark grey forecourt has a reduced Zen design. Accompanied by a fountain, the path leads to the entrance, which is barely perceptibly concealed in a grey glass facade. A white frame serves as a canopy and encloses the entrance area and the garage access. Invisible LED light strips illuminate the entrance from the street side.

By entering the house any impression of the surrounding rural life will immediately come to an end. Designed in a modern Italian style, mirror surfaces alternate with dark and light wall coverings. A dark wooden floor connects all rooms. A sliding door from the entrance hall links to an open space with the kitchen and dining area and the living room. From here the extraordinary view in the Taunus mountains fills the living room like a panorama painting and overwhelms every visitor. A floor-to-ceiling window front opens the room across the entire width without supports. Thus, transforming the living room into an outdoor terrace with the same spectacular view. The same applies to the private rooms adjoining to the east, where warm summer nights invite you to spend the night protected but outside.

From the balcony the view in the surrounding landscape is widening. The terrace with an outdoor pool is located two floors below. The surrounding garden, like the forecourt, is designed in meditative Japanese Zen style. Gravel paths lead through the sparsely planted property.

Downstairs from the terrace the villa opens up spectacularly over 3 floors. The middle floor is set back from the barrel alignment and span up a terrace to whom all rooms on this floor are connected with room-high windows. The façade to the pool glazed over the entire width of the house again. Here with direct access to the terrace, the SPA and fitness area and a barbecue kitchen are located. The terrace covering made of shell limestone has been drawn into the house, thus dissolving the boundary between inside and outside.

The ceiling panes span the space between the floors, opening out laterally into the likewise plastered upright side walls and creating the impression of a shelf. The lateral facades appear massive and are only structured by arranged bands of windows. Here the polygonal shape of the house with two pent roofs interlocked with each other can be seen. A centrally located single-flight staircase between the SPA and fitness area opens up the middle floor of the house. On the remaining level of the old weekend house there are guest rooms as well as work and meeting rooms. The original staircase leads back to the entrance hall.

The performance of the technical installations of the house hidden on the roofs and in the cellar of the house are also impressive. Energetically the house is completely self-sufficient and covers the entire demand completely from solar energy via a large PV system with a total output and high-performance tube collectors also arranged on the roofs. Excess energy is temporarily stored in an underground ice reservoir and can later be called up to generate heat or to heat the pool. A central house control system allows the control of any technical equipment of the villa from anywhere in the world. Such self-sufficient living can be enjoyed even far away from any major settlement in the Taunus Mountains.

Winner: International Residential Architecture Awards 2020 

Firm: grabowski.spork architektur
Architects: Christoph Grabowski and Jan Spork
Category: Private Housing Built
Project Location: Taunus
Team: Martina Fahning, Zafer Önder, Benjamin Leppelt, Carolin Grawert, Sandra Korzeczek
Country: Germany
Photography ©Credit: Thomas Nutt, Hamburg

grabowski.spork architektur delivers the complete spectrum of architectural services from conceptual and interior design over approval planning up to implementation planning and construction supervision. The architects accompany their clients in a cooperative and transparent dialogue from the initial idea to the handover of the building. Focused on planning both new build and revitalization of office, residential and educational buildings, grabowski.spork also works on projects of various kinds of usage. In order to find the best solution, the architects analyze and evaluate the building assignment as well as the internal processes of their clients.

IRA 2021