KWK Promes’ kinetic house reacts to the sun’s movement
One of Poland’s most conceptual architecture firms has yet again married movement with technology. KWK Promes’ most recent clients were after a new family home that would react to the movement of the sun. The architects’ solution was a static building with one ‘wing’ that pivots to track the sun’s progress across the sky.
Quadrant House is named after the ancient navigational instrument that measured angles according to the stars. The all-white house comprises two stationary rectangular blocks of different sizes, one with a flat roof and one with a gabled roof. These two are at right angles to each other. Between them, a narrow, glazed wing containing the living room or indoor terrace travels on tracks over the lawn.
‘Depending on the time of year, it regulates the amount of sunlight in the spaces it adjoins’, explains KWK Promes’ Robert Konieczny. ‘In the summer giving the desired shade, and in the winter allowing more sunlight inside.’ And because the indoor terrace is on the move all day, the grass continues to grow beneath it.
The movement is achieved via silent mechanics, created by Comstal. Konieczny’s 20-strong Katowice-based firm has already worked with Comstal on a number of constructions, including its Safe House, the National Museum in Szczecin, and Konieczny’s Ark, a 2017 Wallpaper* Design Awards winner (in the Best Private House category) complete with drawbridge, which was created for the firm’s owner.
Meanwhile, the terrace’s frameless sliding windows are a result of six months of experimentation by window company Sky-Frame. The Swiss company came up with a bespoke motorised sliding system, meaning the room can be completely open on two sides. The views through all this glazing can be blocked out by the electric blinds.
Konieczny is very interested in exploring kinetic architecture further – and not just in the residential typology. Alongside its many one-off house projects, KWK Promes is turning a slaughterhouse into an art gallery in the Czech city Ostrava. Inside, it too will have moving walls. §