Konieczny's Ark: a "torch in the dark" made of cement and glass

This innovative house, surrounded by the majestic landscape of the Polish mountain, near Brenna, is the winner of the Wallpaper Design Awards 2017. The Arch. Robert Konieczny, who lives there, designed it. The Konieczny’s Ark is an example of organic architecture, combining archaic elements and futuristic volumes, and is based on the knowledge of the territory and its related issues of frequent landslides.

After a deep analysis, a single-storey building was created. It resembles the structure of a typical Polish barn. In order to overcome the landslides, the building structure was designed so that only one part touches the ground, while the other follows the slope of the hill. To limit the movements of the ground, a concrete base was created to act as a bridge, under which rainwater is free to flow naturally: this “inverted roof” effect optimizes the construction, thus giving a feeling of security and of floating on the hill.

The building has been optimized on the structural level, but the bond with the surrounding landscape is already strong. The whole house is surrounded by large windows that finally place the visitor in the wild nature, without exposing him to UV rays, as windows were in fact designed to protect from sunlight. Moreover, to avoid overheating and have an effective house protection system, the entrance is made up of a mobile bridge with the double function of entrance stairs and door.

From the ramp, a few rocks make up the driveway that, without a garden, is open to the mountain and to the animals that graze around there. Konieczny did not put any lighting systems on the back, because he wanted to preserve the natural territory; he preferred instead to light only the front side of the concrete body, transforming the house into a “torch in the dark”.

The material

For the interiors, the Architect was looking for a solution that would give continuity to the spaces and integrate with both the internal elements and the outdoor. For this reason, Microtopping Ideal Work* was chosen: it is a polymer cement solution that, in only 3 mm of thickness, allows the creation of refined continuous material surfaces, without joints. The created space is expanded to increase its depth, harmony and lightness, acquiring a high architectural value. The interiors are spacious and bright; these are characterized by an elegant and warm minimalism in which the selected design furnishings are especially enhanced also by the floor. The prevailing colors are light or neutral and perfectly match the concrete cladding of the external walls and the green of the landscape.

*Microtopping is an exclusive Ideal Work compound, created by combining a liquid polymer and a cement blend, manually mixed by the authorized Ideal Work applicator and specifically designed for the decorative levelling of indoor and outdoor surfaces. In just 3 mm thickness, it allows you to renovate or quickly change the appearance of the rooms; the old surfaces, made of self-leveling concrete, ceramic or wood, do not need to be removed. The high speed of laying allows you to enjoy new spaces in a short time, without any inconvenience of demolition or additional costs. The craftsmanship of the material ensures a unique and original result. In addition, the different combinations of colors and the available decorative inserts, besides the glossy, cloudy or acidified obtainable effects, offer wide possibilities of customization of the surfaces, stylishly marking the environments. It is perfect for the creation of concrete-effect interiors, where the material's natural effect is enhanced at best.