Architect: Koen Vandewalle

Image: Joost Demuynck

Greenhouse Effect

Private house in Belgium

If the energy of solar radiation can penetrate a system almost unhindered, but the outflow of heat is restricted, this is called the glasshouse or greenhouse effect. While this effect is increasingly becoming a problem for the earth, a family house in Rekkem, Belgium is using the effect in a positive way.

The architect Koen Vandewalle has designed a house that is housed in a greenhouse. The house-wthin-a-house also claims to be autonomous from the local energy grid and consists exclusively of recyclable, reusable or local bio-ecological materials. The building follows the idea of circular construction, in which the focus is on the reuse of materials and the maximum use of natural energy sources.

The house for a family of seven with a living space of 170 m2 was designed as a timber structure within a 12.2 m wide by 30 m long greenhouse with a ridge height of 9 m.

The hot dip galvanized steel structure of the greenhouse consists of a series of ten frame elements consisting of 6 m long columns and beams

The galvanized steel greenhouse, protects the house and garden from wind and weather, creating a balanced microclimate. The robust and resistant bolted construction can be completely dismantled if required.

The house itself consists of a timber frame insulated with cellulose and wood wool, which rests on a base made of recycled concrete.

The energy for the house comes exclusively from the sun. The solar elements provide the necessary energy for the production of hot water and electricity required for the house

The hot dip galvanized steel structure of the greenhouse consists of a series of ten, 6 m long columns and beams.

“Steel was the only material that could be used for the greenhouse function,” says Koen Vandewalle, adding: “Steel is 100% adaptable, can be dismantled and recycled. Good corrosion resistance and a long service life are guaranteed by hot dip galvanizing.“

To ensure that the house is independent of public utilities, rainwater is cleaned using a lava filter and fed into three rainwater wells of 20,000 litres each. Waste water goes to a septic tank, where effluent is pumped onto reed beds.

The energy for the house comes exclusively from the sun. Solar panels are built into the roof structure of the external frame and provide the necessary energy for the production of hot water and for electricity required for the house.

So that it does not get too hot in the summer months, the glass roof and some door elements can be opened for cooling with the energy surplus of the solar elements operating the air conditioning system.
The patch work of solar panels also serve as a  shading system for the house.

Although the initial cost for the house was higher than for a more traditional design, the architect‘s objective was to use it as a possible test case for higher density housing.

Subscribe to Hot Dip Galvanizing Magazine

Architect: Koen Vandewalle

Image: Joost Demuynck

Posted on July 28, 2020 by Galvanizers Association

Read next…

Adidas Campus World of Sports

The Adidas Campus World of Sports building in Herzogenaurach is the corporate headquarters of the brand. In 2019 it was extended to include a new foyer designed by Behnisch Architects. The striking, flat cuboid with its diamond-shaped facade and its…

Read more

Batelease Farm, Devon

The client had initially approached the architects in 2013 to design an extension to their grade ll listed farmhouse, on a footprint, that the house had originally stood on before being flattened by a stray bomb during World War II.…

Read more

Heini-Klopfer ski jump in Oberstdorf

The is the third largest in the world. The ski jump, originally designed by the architect and ski jumper Heini Klopfer in 1950, was refitted in 1973 and 1986. A more thorough renovation of the ski jump was carried out…

Read more

Reinforcement of A67/A3, Frankfurt

It is a well known fact that hot dip galvanized steel can be used in the construction of new infrastructure. It should not be forgotten that it can also play an important role in retrofitting structures. This can prolong the…

Read more