KWK Promes unveils a house designed around its lush garden
We visit From the Garden House in Poland by architects KWK Promes, a home created from the outside in, taking its cues from the site’s lush landscaping
‘From The Garden House project was an unusual experience for us,’ says KWK Promes founder, Robert Konieczny. The Katowice-based architecture studio is no stranger to generous, contemporary single family residences, having featured in our Best Private House awards category no less than twice to-date – once winning the coveted title with Konieczny Ark, the firm director’s own home, in 2017. Yet even with their extensive experience, their latest residential completion, a private villa in the Polish countryside, was pretty unique.
Following a less conventional operational order in approaching a house commission, the client had first worked on the site’s extensive, green garden, before moving on to its architecture. They had bought an expasive, yet fallow piece of land that they decided to re-green. They then called upon KWK to design the house within it. ‘The garden [was] in advanced stages of implementation,’ says Konieczny. ‘And only the house was missing.’
The architects went happily to work. ‘Our client’s philosophy and actions are exemplary,’ point out the architects. ‘His actions resemble reforestation of the space around the city.’
Konieczny and his team studied the spot assigned to the structure, at the end of a winding path and next to a small manmade lake on site. ‘The curves, which he enjoyed moving around on, inspired us,’ says the architect. ‘The ground floor of the house with the daytime part, forms a continuation of these curves and fits in softly with the surroundings.’ The plot’s landscaping and topographic lines are referenced in the structure’s overall shape.
At some 1997 sq m, the house is sizeable. The ground level follows organic formations in concrete that flows between foliage, gentle slopes and flowers, expanding into three, irregularly shaped ‘arms’. It contains a large open plan living area that hugs courtyards full of greenery, a generous garage, a study, facility rooms and an independent studio. Crisp white floors offset the concrete walls’ grey. The exterior curves are traced to dramatic effect inside, creating striking, sweeping lines in the high-ceilinged living spaces.
Contrasting this, the top level is square, more austere, white and minimalist. A series of bedrooms, some simple en-suite set ups, and some larger ones that include their own breakout spaces and sitting rooms, unfold here, around an open air atrium that punctures the heart of the plan. Large openings here too connect outside and inside, but can be easily closed off with sleek shutters to ensure privacy for the users.
Taking its cues from its lush, existing garden, this design is sharp and modern, yet remains in dialogue with its context. As a further sign of respect towards the natural environment, it uses alternative sources of energy.
‘Having the garden as our starting point, we created a kind of background architecture, which functions in full symbiosis with nature, becoming part of the ecosystem,’ says Konieczny. ‘The house intertwines with the greenery, uses energy from the environment and its renewable sources, but also gives it back to the environment.’ §