COPENHAGEN – The exterior of the latest residential project by Copenhagen-based Leth & Gori recalls a rather commonplace catalogue house, albeit with a slightly contemporary flair. ‘The house has not been designed for one particular client but is part of a project titled Mini-CO2 Houses initiated by the Realdania Byg foundation. The purpose of the project was to develop affordable houses with a reduced carbon footprint,’ explains Uffe Leth, one of the firm’s principals.
The starting point for the architects’ design was a simple but often overlooked principle: a house that lasts for generations will have a low carbon footprint. The design of the Brick House aims to provide a maintenance-free dwelling for 50 years, with a minimum functional lifespan of 150 years. ‘We have researched historic buildings and studied details, materials and solutions that have secured a long life for these buildings. The large pitched roof and the cantilever are both design choices that have proven to maximise lifespan and reduce maintenance,’ Leth comments.
Inside, all the rooms are organised around a central living space. The loadbearing clay blocks are left exposed, and combined with timber floors and plywood surfaces. The interior is both sophisticated and straightforward. ‘The simplicity of building this way – with very few joints between materials – reduces the mistakes in the building process that often result in a shorter lifespan. Brick walls also provide a good indoor climate because the clay can absorb moisture from the air and release it again.’