Dubbed 'the first ever carbon-neutral, single-family house in Austria' by the client - leading roof window specialist Velux - the Sunlighthouse by Hein-Troy Architekten provided an aptly daring and contemporary backdrop to our Next Generation Austrian fashion story ('Alpine Club', W*154 issue).
The clean-lined, wooden house incorporates three floors and is located in the town of Pressbaum, a half-hour drive from Vienna. The main living spaces sit on the ground floor, with cleverly elevated roof windows bringing plenty of light into the sitting room - a feat, given that the nearby mountains cast a shadow on the plot, making natural lighting with conventional windows difficult. On the top floor are bedrooms and the lower ground floor contains storage and utility rooms.
Completed a few months ago, the house's most prominent design feature is the striking sloped roof - the architects' response to the steep gradient of the site. As well as skylights, the roof also includes solar panels that feed electricity to the structure's grid. Passive cooling can be achieved in the warm months and, adding to the building's eco credentials, there is a ground-source heat pump hot water system.
Sunlighthouse is one of a series of 'study' houses commissioned by Velux as part of its Model Home 2020 project. Locations range from northern Europe to the Mediterranean, showcasing the variety of Velux applications and allowing the company to study the products in different environments. The program not only promotes great architecture but also helps create the company's neutral CO2 emissions solutions and energy efficiency development. The houses produced through the program are studied closely and then released for habitation.
Supported by scientific partners Donau-Universität Krems and the Institute for Healthy and Ecological Building (IBO), the Sunlighthouse has already won the Austrian State Prize for Environment and Energy Technologies.