Highly commended

Daniel Dethier

Single Family House

Jehanster-Verviers, Belgium

December 2000

The architect intended this single-family house to be a challenge to the volume builders who surround all the cities of Europe with a meaningless maze of pseudo vernacular rubbish. He argues that such construction is polluting, causes ground damage, flooding and massive wastes of energy.
This house is intended to counteract such problems caused by modern society and technology by using the very mechanisms that enable large-scale environmental destruction. Industrial methods are used to create a volume with minimum surface area. The house is clad in insulated glass and has a steel roof covered in turf. All is prefabricated in a simple, easily assembled system. Impact on the ground is minimized by making the whole thing light, so that foundations made as little impact as possible on the surrounding orchard. Internally, sliding partitions can divide some of the spaces for visual privacy.
There is mechanical ventilation, but externally, vines are going to grow over cables stretched over the sanded glass of the south front. They will shade the interior of the glass box from the most intense heat of the sun, and provide continually changing patterns of colour, light and shade as the seasons change. The jury was moved by the attempt to create a modern primitive hut, trying to generate symbiosis between the mechanical technology of the late twentieth century, and the growing ecological awareness of the new times.

Contact: Daniel Dethier