A brick house with a wooden face


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Object type: Low-energy house
Designer: ing. arch. Václav Kosnar
Investor: ing. arch. Václav Kosnar
Specific need of heat for heating: up to 50 kWh/(m2a)


HELUZ assortment used


Some houses you pass without sparing them a second glance. Others catch your attention from afar. “I wanted my house to have a face,” ing. arch. Václav Kosnar introduced the building that won the HELUZ House of the Year 2021 voting contest. And no wonder – the impressive glazed gable, designed by the architect himself, definitely stands out. 

“I grew up where I live now, and when the opportunity arose to buy a lot from the town, I didn’t hesitate,” the creator and investor said when asked to tell the story. “I never make a design that I would just copy-and-paste on the given plot. Instead, I always design the house for the specific plot and the specific client. First I take the wider context of the whole plot or location into consideration and I look for a suitable location, not a specific place. This leads to a basic concept for the whole design. Gradually, I move to the interior, where I design from inside out. Basically, both directions (from inside to the outside and vice-versa) are intertwined with each other during the design and in real life, too,” continued ing. arch. Václav Kosnar, who became his own client this time.

A rural house with modern elements

“The house design should reflect the client’s requirements and the specific plot. Both needs to be combined within an architectonic and technical solution. The same applied in this case, when I was my own client, and finding the right way to do this was not easy. Rural houses look good with a gabled roof, which is why the shape of our house respects this tradition while bringing in some modern elements,” continues ing. arch. Václav Kosnar.

The brick building made of HELUZ FAMILY 30 bricks has a T-shaped layout and its main part is a two-story building with a rectangular floor plan (13.6 x 6.6 m) and gabled roof. On the northern side, it is accompanied by a perpendicular tract (13.4 x 7.85) with a flat roof. The dominant feature of the house, which features a ventilated façade made of Siberian larch laths, is its frontage with high windows. The gabled roof is covered by aluminium folded roofing of anthracite colour. In addition to the lathes, the house façade also consists of anthracite trapeziform sheets. The windows and doors are also aluminium (Schüco) and, similarly to all the other roof elements, have an anthracite coating. The house is reminiscent of a rural building but includes minimalistic modern elements.

One World

A specific feature of the plot is its southern side, which is considerably narrower and faces the street. “Basically the plot is a triangle and its tip is facing south towards the street, which I considered to be a disadvantage at first. Ideally, the southern side should be facing a private garden,” explains architect Václav Kosnar. “In the end, however, I managed to turn this handicap into an advantage. It gave rise to the glass gable and provided the house with a “face” as well as enough sunlight in the interior.”

This dominant feature of the house is also reflected in the interior, where the living room opens up to the first floor with a gallery. The longitudinal axis of the house runs from north to south, the main spacious living area (60 m2) with a kitchen and dining area has, in addition to the magnificent glass gable, symmetrically opposing windows parallel to the dining table with a view of the forest (east) and the garden (west). These windows also allows access to the terraces on both sides of the house. A subtle fireplace is located on the interface between the area for the dining table and the living area; the fireplace functionally separates and also aesthetically complements these areas. The ground floor contains the parents’ bedroom, one of the children’s rooms, a bathroom and fitness room. Behind the kitchen there’s a technical room and toilet. The living room is connected to the first floor via a staircase, leading to a corridor connected to a gallery. The first floor contains a bathroom and two additional children’s rooms. A miller staircase leads from the corridor on the first floor to the attic, where the owner plans to finish his “growlery”.

The heart of the house and also a part of special importance for the architect is the connected kitchen, dining room, and living room area. “It's where the family meets and where we spend a lot of time. This area should be very spacious, well lit, and offer an ample view of the outside. That is why it has windows on three sides and get sunlight for virtually all of the day. The area is perfectly lit, not only with direct sunlight,” approvingly said the investor.

Not only does the aforementioned front project into the inside, but another element it interacts with are the wooden lathes of the façade. “I wanted to mirror the design of the façade also inside, so that the interior matches the outside,” said the designer when asked about the design. So for instance the bedroom or children’s room always has one wall that’s covered in larch lathes, while the toilet has a soffit made of these.


HELUZ bricks had the best performance-to-price ratio

During the winter, tall windows are an energetic benefit, while in the summer excess heat from the sun is handled by Climax blinds and the Schüco aluminium systems and their triple-layer insulation glass. However, the main contributor to achieving a pleasant temperature is the main structure made of HELUZ FAMILY 30 edged bricks, whose thermal insulation parameters also make them well-suited for passive buildings. “We managed the first summer (before we had a façade) even without blinds. Compared to buildings made of wood, which heat up very quickly, a brick house accumulates heat more slowly, so even tropical heat that lasts weeks can be handled,”said the architect, adding: “I mean, even the three little pigs in the well-known story found out that the best house is the one made of bricks J”.

He himself chose HELUZ FAMILY 30 edged bricks for outer walls with the ventilated façade, and made use of a comprehensive HELUZ system for the lathes and window lintels. “I only considered burnt bricks, because they have a long tradition and I trust them. HELUZ bricks had a great performance-to-price ratio. I chose the HELUZ FAMILY variant, which has very good thermal insulation properties and is also sufficiently rigid. HELUZ’s technical support is also good,” added the architect.

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