by Anupama Kundoo Nov 28, 2020
Located in Turkey, this artistically sculpted yet fully functional family home comprises a series of three interconnected domed structures, inspired from Asian vernacular architecture and traditional building techniques. The principal, Matthew Prosser, who is also a permaculture expert, gave himself a brief to construct a residential building with low running costs and an ethos that respects and merges with the landscape. As a result, the architect describes the concept backing his design and methods as an attempt to fuse a piece of art and a functional family home with a sustainable ethic. For the process, Prosser also drew from his extensive experience with vernacular architecture and construction methods in Asia, where he lived for 10 years. It is a vision that took two months to manifest in its physicality.
Officially named the 44m2 Low Impact Family Home, this highly insulated one of a kind home features two bedrooms that occupy a single domical structure each, while the third one contains the main living space, the bathroom and the kitchen. Citing nature as his biggest inspiration, the design team progressed with working in tandem with the nature of the site, attempting to seamlessly blend the earthen structures with the greens, browns and beiges of the area. The rather natural, non-linear form of the structures only complements and furthers that narrative. Aligning with the existing terrain, the building is placed on two levels, lending an additional dynamic to the spatiality of the structure. As a result of the soft interiors and the lack of straight lines, the house feels spacious despite being a reasonably compact accommodation.
The spatiality is also influenced by high domed volumes of the home, flushed with natural light. Emanating from the skylights on top and custom designed round windows on the wall, the amount of daylight received nearly eliminates the need for any artificial light during the day. The curvilinear walls of the house are lined with bespoke furniture: from the dining, to the seating, study, bunk beds and kitchen slabs, efficiently utilising every square inch of space available. The walls are constructed using 15 cm thick aircrete bricks, and plastered naturally using earth from the site and tadalak, including in the kitchen and bathroom, lending naturally cooling, non-absorptive surface finishes. The insulated wall assembly, coupled with ample natural ventilation helps the residence achieve its target of low energy costs, and to keep cool during the hot summers. An unmistakable beige-ochre colour palette contrasted only by the upholstery of its wooden furniture or by the occasional greens is a sight that according to the designers, endows the house with an intended prenatal, womb-like calming effect, the sensation of being in a cave without losing the functionality of a ‘home’.
“With this approach, my experience is that more can be achieved with smaller footprints and less materials resulting in what I perceive as a beautiful timeless aesthetic,” states Matthew Prosser, principal at Holistic Progression Designs, who nearly single-handedly undertook his crusade to build the 44m2 Low Impact Family Home. “I am excited about future building projects because I believe our connection to nature, ourselves and something greater than us can be reflected in our homes. In the current climate this seems to resonate with a lot of clarity as people reflect on what is important in life”.