Herculean strength: a concrete house makes its mark in Luxembourg

Hercule house Luxembourg
A new concrete home has landed in the south of Luxembourg, designed by local architects 2001.
(Image credit: Maxime Delvaux)

On a sleepy residential street, between an old farmhouse and a suburban villa, Hercule house makes for a strong statement. The monolithic structure appears as a solid concrete volume, designed by Luxembourg-based architecture practice 2001 and located in Mondorf-les-bains, in the country's leafy south. 

Named fittingly after local hero John ‘Hercule' Gruen, the architects drew upon the world champion's strength in composing the residence's powerful form; ‘The volume emerges fiercely from the ground like the tip of an iceberg,' say 2001.

Hercule house Luxembourg exterior

The house is named after local hero John ‘Hercule' Gruen, referencing the world champion's strength.

(Image credit: Maxime Delvaux)

Hercule sits on a sloped site, sinking below ground level on the lower floor, which spills out into a sunken clean courtyard. Walking back inside from the courtyard, which connects to the street level through a sleek set of concrete steps, visitors find themselves in the house's main living spaces and an open-plan kitchen and dining area. Two additional upper levels host private areas, such as the main bedrooms and bathrooms, which are perfectly complemented by bespoke timber cabinetry and warm wooden floors.

Rough finishes inside add to the architecture's overall aesthetic. ‘The resulting austerity, which is unusual for contemporary domestic standards, underlines the essence of the project: the minimal quality of the interiors fosters a relationship with the context', say the architects. 

Large openings bring the inside in and allow the gaze to wonder out towards the leafy surrounds. Meanwhile, the east and west façades feature curtain walls with a solar protective glass, a striking contrast to the blind concrete north and south walls, making this project as eye-catching as it is clever.

Hercule house Luxembourg front

The house, emerges from the ground ‘like the tip of an iceberg', say the architects.

(Image credit: Maxime Delvaux)

Hercule house Luxembourg side facade

The concrete volume sits on a sloped site and spans three levels.

(Image credit: Maxime Delvaux)

Hercule house Luxembourg interior

The main living space on the lower level looks out to a protected courtyard.

(Image credit: Maxime Delvaux)

Hercule house Luxembourg living room

The courtyard maintains the house’s raw, minimalist feel.

(Image credit: Maxime Delvaux)

Hercule house Luxembourg courtyard

Steps up lead out to the street above and high concrete walls ensure privacy for the owners.

(Image credit: Maxime Delvaux)

Hercule house Luxembourg bedroom

Upstairs, rooms include bright bedrooms for the owners.

(Image credit: Maxime Delvaux)

Hercule house Luxembourg cabinets

Bespoke cabinetry complements the concrete walls and timber flooring.

(Image credit: Maxime Delvaux)

Hercule house bathroom

Even the bathroom opens up to the long views out.

(Image credit: Maxime Delvaux)


For more information visit the 2001 website

Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture & Environment Director at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018), Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020) and House London (2022).