Innovative residences in Poland prove that the only way to go is east.
In the past, this tower in the petite Polish town of Dąbrówno was primarily used as water supply for steamed locomotives that traveled below the escarpment that it sits upon. There were three cast iron pipes running all the way to do the top: inlet (using city water from wells), outlet, and overflow. Locals speculate that it's at least 103 years old, and it was probably used up until World War II. Now, it has been converted into a small hotel with cozy interiors. Photograph courtesy Tim Villabona.
Nix and Novak-Zemplinski, founders of the design firm BioLINIA, in their 1,000-square-foot apartment’s open-plan kitchen, dining, and living space. They had the decorative cabinets and ceiling panels CNC-milled by a Polish subsidiary of the Finnish company Koskisen. Photo by Andreas Meichsner.
By creatively manipulating the angles and levels of exterior surfaces on this modest Polish country house, architect Peter Kuczia achieved exceptionally high solar exposure, increasing its capacity to gain energy from the sun.
The main living area of the house is in the larch-wood-clad ground floor. The “black box”—–a three-story structure made from charcoal-colored fiber-cement panels—–contains another living room. The facade absorbs warmth from the sun, preventing heat loss in winter; in warm weather, hot air escapes through the top window.
In southwest Poland, architect Robert Konieczny, of KWK Promes, raises the roof—with sod intact—on Jacek Perkowski’s modernist rural getaway. He lifted the existing ground and wrapped it around the roof and exterior rooftop staircase, essentially making all floors “ground” level.
The expansive open-air living room on the first floor is framed with a curving wall of windows. The glass wall works as an outdoor atrium looking out on an exposed sod-covered staircase and allows the room to be bathed in natural light.