A Neophyte Architect Cuts His Chops With His First Solo Project In A Poland Suburb

A littered plot of land with a small, rubbish-filled pond is hardly the place where dream homes are built. But an innovative couple envisioned what could happen on this site, just minutes from Poznań’s city center in Poland. And they brought on architect Adam Wysocki to make it come true.

“At the beginning we were struggling with different ideas about what would be the best solution for this plot,” declares Wysocki. The client wanted it hidden from the street and to open toward the back’s natural views.

Wysocki focused on the plot’s small hill, deciding that the main part of the house would be nestled into the incline, essentially building the house underground.

“It was obvious where to put each of the two volumes of the house – the garage and the T-shaped living area,” explains Wysocki. “Everything on the house was the result of the plot.”

The home’s two volumes are tangential, touching only on the flat surfaces. The garage on the top of the structure opens toward the road, but in keeping with the desire to blend into the scenery, Wysocki clad it in locally sourced larch wood, which is also used throughout the structure.

“This is as sustainable as possible in our region in Poland, it’s not so expensive, grows fast, is durable and pests don’t like it,” he notes. Also, the rich resin generates a natural patina. The house, completed in 2017, is now a muted gray.

He extended the garage just beyond the rooftop of the living area, adding not just a storage area, but also a balanced architectural feature seen from the street and the back.

The rooftop, filled with a ready-to-use mat of different grasses and herbs, became a visual bridge linking the property’s natural features and the structure.

“You have the impression, from the street, that you just have this piece of meadow,” explains Wysocki. The self-maintaining garden is only accessible from a folding door at the back of the garage. It’s about four inches deep and doesn’t require cutting or watering. “If cut, it looks like grass, but left alone it has a meadow quality.” In spring, bees drink pollen from small blooming wildflowers; summer’s heat is deflected from the fibrous mat that collects rainwater; in fall and winter the grasses go dormant, ready to rejuvenate in spring.

The home’s main entrance from the street is hidden beyond a larch door, which appears as part of the garage. It opens to a concrete stairwell, with the slatted wood on the upper portion and the structure’s concrete walls defining the descent below ground. This area’s open-air structure allows sunlight to stream into the foyer and the main living area.

Upon descent, rather than feeling enclosed, the structure opens up with folding glass walls that look over the property’s lawn and its now-cleaned pond, the outdoor muted colors reflecting off the polished concrete floor.

“The cast concrete wall is part of the resistance, and then it becomes the structure,” clarifies Wysocki. Working with the poured concrete for interior walls created new challenges to the neophyte architect, but the experienced contractors helped. Walls with less exposure were poured first so issues with settling or cracking could be addressed. The long concrete wall in the living room was the final pour.

With two adults and two small dogs as residents, the bedroom also enjoys glass walls to the open space. There is also a wooden-clad opening linking the rooftop to a garden adjacent to the primary bathroom. Wysocki again used the larch wood, but in thinner strips as a design element.

“I like the small rhythm of the elements,” quips Wysocki. “It becomes a small game with shadows and light, and it’s ever-changing.”

Photography by Tom Kurek.

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