Larch House
The Larch House is a direct response to Russia's climatic, cultural and social environment. The design utilizes traditional ideas and re-introduces Siberian Larch as the principle exterior material. The Larch House is located in the affluent part of Moscows' suburbs – on Rublevsky Shosse, to the north west of the city. The area, which was original the home of Soviet Government dachas, has recently become a base for the nouveau riche, resulting in the sporadic development of large houses of all shapes and styles of architecture, with little attention to local culture, building methods or sustainability. Although substantial in size and generous in budget, the fundamental aim of this project was to set a new benchmark in the design of the Russian house – responding directly to Moscow's climatic, cultural and social environment, whilst utilizing minimalist form and traditional materials. The design of the house provides a spiral form around a central south facing courtyard, with main living accommodation taking up taller elements of the volume (to the east), and the swimming pool / sports facility in the lower elements with terraces above (to the west). Internal courtyard elevations are completely glazed and open, allowing the central space to be used as an additional room during the summer, whereas external facades of the house are clad in solid planes of grey larch planks with minimal window openings, giving protection against the Russian winter. Access to the house is via a red-glazed brick arch at the centre of a flat street façade, concealing the nature of the spaces behind. The main interior spaces are minimal and airy, with solid oak floors, white plastered walls and dark slate fireplaces. Siberian Larch is a conifer which was traditionally used for the construction of dwellings throughout Russia, and was noted for its strength and durability against the harsh climate.


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