Two Russian designers turned project managers and importers of contemporary designer furniture wanted a house that could serve as a showcase for their imports. They came to the UK looking for an architect. The site is located on an exclusive gated estate outside of Moscow, in a forest on a small lake, the temperature range is –30 to + 30 C and the winters are snowy. The brief called for a 700m2 two-bedroom house with a pool, a reading room, two studies, a double garage, and a bedsit for their driver, etc. The final design responds to the climatic context and the site specifics, particularly the forest of pine trees. Trying to avoid the clichéd, though entirely logical in the Russian context, pitched roofs of the neighbours, we developed a ‘V’ roof that provides deep overhangs and does not require gutters or down pipes. While most of the neighbours chopped down their part of the forest we wanted to protect every single tree. This led us to use in-situ concrete as the main structural material, also useful as a temperature moderating heat sink. Even the ‘V’ roof, spanning 24 meters, is made of in-situ concrete. Concrete can be pumped from the road while any form of trusses would have required crane access and trees would have been lost. The ground floor features a 131m2 living area, with an open plan kitchen. The first floor has two suites and a tea drinking area with a balcony. The project remains unrealised.

with Techniker and Fulcrum and Mike Balston

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