Zeller & Moye reveal hidden woodland retreat in Berlin

Zeller & Moye reveal hidden woodland retreat in Berlin

Haus Koeris, designed by Zeller & Moye is a house created entirely out of wood with a function to emphasis privacy without losing sight of place 

A modest sylvan retreat, the Haus Koeris is tucked away in a wooded lakeside plot close to Berlin. The landscape here might be wooded but it’s relatively dense, with houses sitting in close proximity, shielded from each by the vegetation. Zeller & Moye were tasked with creating a house that emphasised privacy without losing sight of place, and the fragmented floorplan is arranged to preserve the position of the tall pine trees that scatter the site. Their bare trunks make the perfect architectural backdrop to a timber-clad house that prefers simplicity over architectural gymnastics.

The entire structure is built of wood, inside and out, with a facade clad in spruce planks. The whole house is raised up on blocks to keep the damp away, while the interiors are all clad from floor to ceiling in pale wood, creating a warm and atmospheric ambience. This is paired with large single pane windows that frame views out onto the landscape. Rooms are located within five clearly defined ‘boxes’ of varying heights, four of which pivot off a large central space housing a living and dining area. The layout increases the number of exterior walls, creating little niches and nooks between each box. ‘Some of these alcoves are sheltered from wind or hidden from views, others capture the sun and thus create pleasant microclimates,’ says Christoph Zeller, who designed the house alongside Ingrid Moye. Zeller points out that this approach gives the residents different ways of interacting with the outside space. As much as possible, the forest floor has been left undisturbed and the close proximity of mature trees makes the house appear as if it has just landed. 

The central space includes a kitchen, large dining table and a hearth. Doors in three corners lead off to the subsidiary boxes, all of which have been designed to be as flexible as possible. The clients have the option of using them as a bedroom, studio, workshop or guest room, with a high degree of privacy afforded by their separation from each other. The bathroom and utility space also has direct access to the garden, in addition to three other external doors, adding to the inside/outside connections set up by the plan. 

The house was low cost and low energy, with wood used throughout for the structure, cladding and detailing, as well as the insulation. There is also a self-contained sewage system and upcoming additions include a swathe of rooftop planting that’ll complete Haus Koeris’s absorbsion back into nature. §

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