LUXEMBOURG – Perched on a hillside, a compact single-family home by Polaris Architects really stands out in some aspects; in others, it coolly blends in. The singular, multifaceted volume, which the architects describe as ‘mineral’ in form, is quite bold. On the other hand, the house’s monochrome skin of grey-green wall shingles softens the blow, allowing it to sit relatively comfortably among more conservative neighbours.
Sculptural as the project is, the architects point out that its proportions also recall residences typical of the region. In fact, one can imagine the design team constructing a model of a traditional Luxembourg townhouse, slicing off corners, and simply patching the openings. From most angles, the house even appears to be missing a twin. Its western façade, one of few truly vertical surfaces on the house’s exterior, makes it seem as if a duplex – a common building type in Luxembourg – has been sliced down the middle.
Inside the house, sharply slanted concrete walls and columns intersect to create angular and unconventional domestic spaces. The concrete itself is exposed and untreated though; boards used to create the formworks have left behind their familiar texture and scale throughout the interior. This texture, along with a range of other lighter-weight materials, help domesticate an otherwise monumental structure, providing a comfortable living environment for a couple and their two children.