ArchitectsChristopher Carlsen, Morten Bang
Text description provided by the architects. Brick shingle house reduces emissions.
When debating sustainable solutions and material choice in architecture, proponents of wooden architecture are often confronted with the notion that wood requires maintenance and is not as durable as other materials. Wooden architecture is associated with dilapidated wooden shacks and low-cost housing, and clients are often hesitant to consider wood when constructing contemporary houses in northern climates. The benefits of using wood as a structural component are, however, comprehensive. As the single-family house is still one of the most common residential typologies in Denmark, rethinking the tectonic assemblage of the house is an easy way of reducing emissions from the built environment nationally.
For our project TK-33, we have focused on identifying and replacing CO2-heavy elements of the typical Danish house and replaced them with more eco-friendly alternatives in a contemporary formal language that resonates with the existing qualities of the town and the surrounding landscape.
In the most common Danish single-family house, the load bearing structure is aerated concrete covered by a brick envelope and roof tiles. The concrete walls have a massive CO2-impact that has thus far been justified by durability and lifespan. The brick envelope also has a high impact due to its volume and challenges in reuse. According to some studies, the outer walls account for nearly 30% of the total emissions associated with construction of a typical house and it is among other elements this number that we aim to reduce with TK-33.
By replacing the load bearing concrete wall with a wooden frame and cladding it in a thin layer of durable brick shingling, the emissions from concrete are eliminated and the emissions from the brick cover is highly reduced as the thickness of the envelope is reduced to 13mm. In addition to reducing the volume of brick, the façade system is also C2C-certified allowing for a gradual or total reuse or replacement if certain shingles are damaged or entire sections need replacing. Because the envelope is so durable, maintaining the wooden structure is redundant and the lifespan is increased which minimizes the overall CO2-impact of the structure.
The house is built to accommodate a mature couple and is situated in the perimeter of a small town north of Copenhagen. The house integrates the natural vistas in the social spaces of the house surrounding the open kitchen, utilizing the room height to absorb the sky and the natural landscape. The house has a private and a social section, making the use of the house flexible and allowing for visitors and varied owners over time increasing the lifespan without the need for remodeling or extending. The house can be naturally ventilated and installations are pragmatically limited to the central core containing two bathrooms and a laundry room, lowering overall costs during construction.
Eliminating emissions during construction, allowing for flexibility in the use of the house and facilitating reuse of the entire envelope makes for a house and a building technique that could decrease the emissions from the single-family house industry in Denmark greatly.