THE LARCH HOUSE, MOSCOW
This private house with a swimming pool in the Moscow region is a direct response to Russia's climate, and social and cultural environment. The design uses traditional ideas and reintroduces Siberian larch as the principal exterior material.
It spirals around a central, south-facing courtyard, with the main living accommodation occupying taller elements of the volume to the east, and the swimming pool and sports facility in the lower elements with terraces above to the west. External facades (north, east and west) are clad in solid planes of larch planks with minimal window openings, giving a traditional 'back to the wind' protection against the Russian winter.
The simple horizontal boards are stained with a grey semi-transparent, water-based paint, and fixed to a subframe of the same material on a base of local brick or block. The internal courtyard on the south side has completely glazed elevations to allow low sunlight into the house during winter, but with protruding timber canopies, cutting out direct sunlight during the summer months. The glazing opens to provide natural ventilation and to create an additional 'external room' during the summer.