Dezeen Magazine

Black Cube House by KameleonLab

Polish Design Season: Rafal Specylak and Kuba Wozniczka of Wroclaw practice KameleonLab have completed an extension to a residence in Wroclaw.

Called Black Cube House, the project involved extending the existing house on two sides.

The resulting building is clad in black-painted wooden panels.

A black steel frame encloses an outdoor terrace, marking the cube-shaped boundary of the project.

Exterior walls within this cube are painted in white or bright colours to signify volumes that have been cut away from the overall shape.

To maintain privacy the house has few windows and is lit primarily by skylights.

Follow all our stories about Polish design this month in our special category. More details about Polish Design Season on Dezeen here.

Here's some more information from KameleonLab:


Black Cube House - Total makeover.

Kuba Wozniczka and Rafal Specylak - KameleonLab architects have just completed a private house in Wroclaw. This project demonstrates a 'total makeover' of a typical polish family house from 70s of XX century. Clients have bought a site with existing 2 storey small building  and their main  objective was to make this house almost twice as big, whilst incorporating the old structure of a building and to completely change the elevations. At the end of a 'face lift' old white cube became a 'Black Cube'.

Existing house was extended in two directions, towards garden and west site boundary, achieving extra space for a living room on the ground floor and new parents bed room with wardrobe on 1st floor.

Privacy has been the most important issue. The site is located in urbanized city zone in residential area of high density, where achieving privacy, so important for clients, was main project issue. This was influencing most all design decisions - from site plan to elevation treatment. Following client wish to minimize possible views into the house from outside, front and side elevations have just a minimum number of openings which was compensated by few skylights and 5 meter height channel glass wall lightning up stairs and hallway.

House layout was reorganized to separate different zones in very regural mode. Open plan on the ground floor is dedicated for whole family and their friends, whereas top floor is strictly private with parents rooms on one side of a house and kids in the other.

Smooth transition from inside to outside space; Terrace as an `in between zone`

One of very important aspects of this project was to create smooth transition between house and landscaped area. From the garden side steel frame has been designed surrounding terrace and supporting projected 'bedroom box'. This has created another space- somehow enclosed but already in the garden. Steel frame will serve as a construction for timber louvers to maximize privacy and create shade in summer months.

This 'in between' zone will serve as a living room extension, where sliding glass facade make it possible to connect with outer space almost seamlessly. During summertime and spring this will be ideal for BBQ, garden party's and will serve as kids playground.

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After carefully searching for adequate elevation treatment architects have decided to clad this house with timber painted black, thanks to this achieving very strong, almost 'graphic' effect and same time using environment friendly materials.

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To emphasize concept of terrace as a part of the house - louvers surrounding terrace has been designed from the same material as rest of elevations - black painted timber. To highlight 'empty parts' of the structure (where solid mass is subtracted) - entrance zone and terrace zone, colored and white render was used instead of timber.

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location : Wroclaw, Lower Silesia, Poland
area: 235 m2
Rafal Specylak, Kuba Wozniczka