Photography: Ulrik Jantzen, Das Büro for UPM; eentileen.dk
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
The delicate site in the middle of a forest, called for minimum impact and preservation of the sensitive vegetation. The 1350 square feet Villa Asserbo rests on 28 screw piles, inserted 12-20 feet into the ground, thereby floating 1 foot above the ground, using no concrete. This ensures a low carbon footprint and when time comes, the house can be removed and recycled without leaving any permanent mark on the site or environment.
We take a holistic approach to building design and sustainability. A lot of people are mainly concerned with how much energy a home uses during its period of habitation. We take the entire life cycle and all aspects of this into consideration – from the making of the house, to the habitation of the house and in the end the deconstruction and recycling of the house. This means our overall footprint is one of the lowest on the market.
Nicholas Bjørndal explains.
Using wood in construction gives a high level of embodied energy, and by using certified plywood from Nordic forestry the architects ensure that only the best materials are applied into the building. They take this a step further by using only wood fibres as insulation, which is pumped into the components, ensuring a super tight and insulated home. This increases the embodied energy of the structure by 200% and the insulation is certified organic and 100% recyclable! The use of only natural materials allows the structure to breathe creating a healthy and ventilated interior climate.
Another innovative feature in the house which provides a healthy interior climate is the Ventilation Windows. It is an old technique, originating from Russia, brought back to life by a Danish inventor. Facit Nordici and Horn Windows did extensive research and calculations of where to position the innovative windows. A 3-layered glass window combined with an ingenious valve provides fresh heated air throughout the winter, simply harvesting the laws of thermal effect. This prevents traditional heat loss through glass and accounts for 25% of the overall energy used for heating, while recirculation the entire indoor air 1-2 times an hour. It even cools the house during the summer!
The architecture of Villa Asserbo plays on traditional pitched roofs paying respect to the traditions of the region, but at the same time contradicting this with the subtle and playful use of elements of recognition an ambiguity. The house seemingly consists of two identical units that are mirrored, with minor variations, creating a far more complex structure. In one end embracing the warm and golden rays of sun towards the south, and in the other end creating a cooler and more calm atmosphere towards the north. In the middle og the house, where the two mirrored sections collide, a simple wood burner provides heat during the cold winter accompanied by the Ventilation Windowsm. This wood burner was saved from the deconstruction of the old house, and is placed exactly at the same spot – a subtle reminiscence and palimpsest of the life in the old house.
The entire house is fabricated entirely out of one material – High end plywood of locally sourced Nordic spruce. The qualities of this type of timber are numerous and it is FSC certified ensures a sustainable method of forestry. In total 800 sheets where used in fabricating the 400 components, all numbered with integrated service channels and ready for assembly by a simple instruction guide. It is like building with huge blocks of LEGO!
At Facit Nordic we make smart buildings more simple — using nature as inspiration. We use well documented simple techniques in combination with healthy and natural materials. No plastics. No concrete. No mineral wool – or any products that cant be directly returned into their natural lifecycle. We take the resources of our planet serious, and at Facit Nordic. There is no waste, only natural cycles.
Nicholas Bjørndal explains.