Overlooking the seaside in a coastal community in Bulgaria, this intelligently-designed home takes advantage of the sun not only from day to day, but from season to season. With large banks of glass and a shape which captures sunlight differently as the year progresses, the design Ignatov Architects effectively heats, cools, and lights the interior in a passive fashion. Built from locally-sourced materials including artistically-placed stones and long wood panels, the house actually sits mostly below street level, with a small entryway on top. The roof of the building is not wasted, however, and is planted with a full yard, making the house nearly invisible from above. Additionally, a large wooden deck on the lowest floor has space for entertaining and a long pool. The residence leaves a minimal impact on the environment while taking maximum advantage of the views and sunlight of the coast.
The outward-angled window banks of the public rooms on the middle level of the house take in different amounts of sunlight at different times of year, optimizing the lighting inside to each season. On the hill just below the deck at the bottom of the house, an array of solar panels takes advantage of every angle to provide the energy used heat and cool the home’s interior (and even its pool, during the warmest months).
The house is arranged from the top down, with private bedrooms opening up onto the lower pool deck. This gives the residence a rather personal feel despite the wide and bright nature of its outdoor recreation space, since one must either exit or go through the bottom floor to reach the patio.
The amount of sunlight entering the home is significant enough to passively heat the house the times of day when heat is needed most, and the shadows cast by the overhanging roof at high noon keeps things relatively cool on a hot day.
The entire rooftop of the house is brought vaguely in line with the terrain at the home’s driveway, which sits above. The roof is planted with a full grassy lawn, leading to a stated 95% terrain recovery on the lot when viewed from above. One of the house’s many unique stone structures on top is a lens which is positioned to cast a ray of sunlight onto a clock installed in the living room, revealing the time of day.
All around the sides of the house and its top structures, locally-sourced stone is placed artistically and packed loosely around structural walls to invoke traditional European construction styles.
A gated driveway leads to the rear top edge of the house, where a doorway leads downstairs. The door is set inside a geometric wood frame, introducing interior themes to the largely stone exterior while also connecting the entrance to the wood face at the slope side of the building.