Spectacular pools / Villa K, swimming on the edge of Thuringian Forest | THE COOL POOL by Fluidra

We turn to the Paul de Ruiter Architects studio for an excellent example of a sustainable family home. The Dutch outfit has just designed and built Villa K in Germany, a commission which, above all else, sought a discreet result integrated in the natural environment.

And that is what they got: a clean and transparent south-facing parallelepiped body carefully positioned on the hillside to make it possible to project from under the large base platform a body perpendicular to it which houses the pool. Behind it, another body lies flat against the hillside itself and contains, in a more closed fashion, the installations, i.e., a storage area and a spacious garage with room for six cars.

The materials were chosen with care. The glass of the main volume helps make the body disappear into the setting, as it reflects the sky and forest that can be seen from all around. In addition to eliminating the feeling of a built volume, it provides for stunning views across the valley both from the inside and from the terrace which runs the length of the property from east to west. This large terrace is broken in the middle by a partially covered atrium cutting the house from north to south and marking the access and connection between the home and the service spaces below the hill.

This perpendicular axis to the hillside separates the indoor space functionally, as well as formally drawing a great deal of attention to the pool. Elevating the terrace over the pool is a subtle gesture that makes it possible to swim from the heart of the home to the furthest point away from it. Perfectly blending in with this nod to the landscape, the villa was built to make it heat-efficient. The glass façade is parallel to the hillside and the auxiliary quarters under it. The south-facing glass wall receives a great deal of natural sunlight and heat, whilst the underground quarters keep in the cold.

A heat exchanger fitted in the villa runs the the home’s heating system. It is connected to a cooling ceiling system and an underfloor heating system, which ensures the temperature is pleasant all year around. A computer system monitors both of these systems

Photographs: © Pieters Kers & Patrick Voigt