Sited in Schlipsheim, a small and traditional village in the southern German state of Bavaria, the unconventionally shaped Haus Lux was designed by architect Manfred Lux for his own family. In an area where convention and homogeneity in architecture is the norm, Lux managed to sway the 25 local politicians into giving him approval to build a house that is a firm departure from the area's more customary designs, by explaining the importance of this energy-saving design.

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Refined and robust at the same time, the house takes its shape directly from its floor plan. Externally, the building seems to twist irregularly, but the architect's intention was to break away from the usual square shape and simply follow the most favourable volume for energy efficiency. 'A sphere is the best form in terms of volume, as there are very few surfaces where the energy is being lost,' says Lux. An all white oak timber exterior, complemented by a grass roof and floor-to-ceiling windows keeps the house cool during the warmer months, while flooding all the internal spaces with natural light and providing 'natural realistic pictures of an ever-changing landscape.'

'There's no end - one step deeper, one step up,' explains Manfred, upon entering the impressive double outward-opening doors into the house. Internally, the house's raw structure is exposed and the clever design is explained further. With a heavy exposed concrete interior and light and airy exterior, the house acts 'as a low tech air conditioner, keeping the temperature of the house constant and comfortable through all seasons.'

The internal surfaces were equally well thought out. The walls for example, follow a design principle originally developed from stonemasons; the surface has been hammered using small stones collected from the rivers in the nearby Austrian Alps. The method perfectly complements the house's concept; it is a design that is both functional and decorative, where the structure becomes at the same time the ornament.