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A Rational Approach

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Typography guru Erik Spiekermann and his wife, designer Susanna Dulkinys, hate 
clutter. That’s why they love the supersleek Berlin domicile they constructed to have 
just the right lines—and a host of energy-saving features behind the scenes.
 

  • 
  Spiekermann and Dulkinys agree that their house—the first they’ve built from the ground up—is definitely different.  Photo by: Pia Ulin
    Spiekermann and Dulkinys agree that their house—the first they’ve built from the ground up—is definitely different.

    Photo by: Pia Ulin

  • 
  Throughout the house, materials have been left in their raw forms. In the lobby-cum-garage entrance, panels of spaghetti insulation line the walls and ceiling.  Photo by: Pia Ulin
    Throughout the house, materials have been left in their raw forms. In the lobby-cum-garage entrance, panels of spaghetti insulation line the walls and ceiling.

    Photo by: Pia Ulin

  • 
  The East Berlin neighborhood is entirely new, zoned for town-house  construction. Each floor of the house is more or less completely open from front to back, so the interior gets plenty of light in spite of the long, narrow lot.  Photo by: Pia Ulin
    The East Berlin neighborhood is entirely new, zoned for town-house construction. Each floor of the house is more or less completely open from front to back, so the interior gets plenty of light in spite of the long, narrow lot.

    Photo by: Pia Ulin

  • 
  Just outside the lobby is a drive-through for Spiekermann’s Audi.  Photo by: Pia Ulin
    Just outside the lobby is a drive-through for Spiekermann’s Audi.

    Photo by: Pia Ulin

  • 
  The lobby-cum-garage plays home to the couple’s favorite forms of transport: 
a bike and Spiekermann’s Audi.  Photo by: Pia Ulin
    The lobby-cum-garage plays home to the couple’s favorite forms of transport: a bike and Spiekermann’s Audi.

    Photo by: Pia Ulin

  • 
  The “cellar,” where the couple keep printing presses, was built on the fourth floor, above the office spaces. For zoning purposes, this floor has a low ceiling height.  Photo by: Pia Ulin
    The “cellar,” where the couple keep printing presses, was built on the fourth floor, above the office spaces. For zoning purposes, this floor has a low ceiling height.

    Photo by: Pia Ulin

  • 
  The office houses the letter “U" as well as cameras.  Photo by: Pia Ulin
    The office houses the letter “U" as well as cameras.

    Photo by: Pia Ulin

  • 
  The fifth floor has office space for Spiekermann and Dulkinys in addition to guest quarters.  Photo by: Pia Ulin
    The fifth floor has office space for Spiekermann and Dulkinys in addition to guest quarters.

    Photo by: Pia Ulin

  • 
  Next to the kitchen, Eames and Jacobsen chairs welcome dinner guests to the dining-room table. The back wall is covered in particleboard panels.  Photo by: Pia Ulin
    Next to the kitchen, Eames and Jacobsen chairs welcome dinner guests to the dining-room table. The back wall is covered in particleboard panels.

    Photo by: Pia Ulin

  • 
  Very large doors, like the one leading from the living area to the stairwell, add to the sense of space.  Photo by: Pia Ulin
    Very large doors, like the one leading from the living area to the stairwell, add to the sense of space.

    Photo by: Pia Ulin

  • 
  The stainless steel Bulthaup kitchen “cost as much as a small house,” said Spiekermann, though he did get a discount: Bulthaup is one of his clients.  Photo by: Pia Ulin
    The stainless steel Bulthaup kitchen “cost as much as a small house,” said Spiekermann, though he did get a discount: Bulthaup is one of his clients.

    Photo by: Pia Ulin

  • 
  Cloth panels hide messy outlets and plugs.  Photo by: Pia Ulin
    Cloth panels hide messy outlets and plugs.

    Photo by: Pia Ulin

  • 
  Dulkinys uses the remote-controlled mountaineer’s harness to peruse the two-story bookshelf.  Photo by: Pia Ulin
    Dulkinys uses the remote-controlled mountaineer’s harness to peruse the two-story bookshelf.

    Photo by: Pia Ulin

  • 
  The bedroom and bathroom make up the private zones on the top floor.  Photo by: Pia Ulin
    The bedroom and bathroom make up the private zones on the top floor.

    Photo by: Pia Ulin

  • 
  The interior is bright and charming, cool but not cold. Each floor is open, with an unencumbered view from the glass facade in front to the glass doors in back, which makes the rooms feel much larger than they are.  Photo by: Pia Ulin
    The interior is bright and charming, cool but not cold. Each floor is open, with an unencumbered view from the glass facade in front to the glass doors in back, which makes the rooms feel much larger than they are.

    Photo by: Pia Ulin

  • 
  Here, in the basement, a borehole heat exchanger uses the warmth from the earth, brought to the surface by four steel pipes that reach 105 feet down, for heating. Solar panels heat the building’s water, and a clever ventilation system ensures that the glass house doesn’t get too warm in the summer.  Photo by: Pia Ulin
    Here, in the basement, a borehole heat exchanger uses the warmth from the earth, brought to the surface by four steel pipes that reach 105 feet down, for heating. Solar panels heat the building’s water, and a clever ventilation system ensures that the glass house doesn’t get too warm in the summer.

    Photo by: Pia Ulin

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