Smart Air House

Project type: Single-Family, Multi-Family


Location: Germany


Time: 2010


In Collaboration with Griffner

Dreaming of „Living surrounded by Nature“ is the contrary to the dirty and stuffy felt tightness and traffic density in the city centers. Today we know how this dream led to the urban sprawl, a loss of free space and higher traffic density, yet, we have to state that the idea of densification by multi-family developments will not fulfil this dream. It will keep its attractiveness as a topos.


Moreover, a basic or main benefit got lost during our industrial specialized building: healthy living, measurable through the quality of indoor air. First of all, a wall does not have to be tight and a paint not bright, but more importantly not harming. This realization is not new, but neither basic and is not realized obligatory today.

The existing design is accepting these two challenges and formulates two main principles of smart usages of materials:


1 Smart Use of Land
2 Smart Strategies for Clean Air


To start with, the house should provide a basic population density, including the benefits and qualities of a single-family house. The idea that a free standing house is telescoped with a second house and pushed higher (townhouses with towel gardens) is misleading. Gardens become small, necessary vertical development takes over a disproportionate part of the floor space, additionally, two connected houses need two entire stair cases.

Our design is based on the idea that two full “houses” can be stacked onto each other. At ground level, the apartment receives the habitual garden, the second house above features a large-scale terrace garden that is beyond reach by any city apartment. Two apartments with characteristics of a house emerge on the same ground. Both apartment units are organized by split-levels directing the large living rooms to south-west and to the garden. A three to four storey building arises that could easily function as a Brandwandhaus. Living in this concept will reduce the demand for land, as well as for the entire infrastructure of individual and public transport by 50%.


SMART AIR HOUSE- healthy living due to clean air

In western industrial countries, people spend approx. 90% of their life time in closed buildings. Yet, the air quality inside is worse than outside many times over. Leading environment medicines and toxicologists trace back the rising numbers of allergy sufferers and hypersensitive people, especially children, to toxins in the indoor air. Houses that have an unstressed indoor air assure that people stay healthy in their self-created environment and sensitive people can live more easily.


The well-being of the inhabitants in the SMART AIR HOUSE rank first in the concept and decides on the smartness of the used materials and construction. The house offers spacious living, green open spaces and flowing indoor structures in both apartment units with four to five rooms and of course material quality according to “cradle-to-cradle” standard. Archaic materials and advanced technology form a symbiotic system. It is user friendly and not technically overloaded, using all potentials of the air and the sun and unite health and climatic conscious living in the city.


Usage of local resources
Plus-energy standard
Efficient and advanced building technology
Interfaces that prepare the building for future smart grids


Minimized indoor air pollutants by controlling used building materials, usage of air cleaning materials, plants and devices (cradle to cradle & DGNB)
Optimizing the overall primary energy balance by drafting an environmental accounting and measuring the actual results
Use of ecological construction and insulating materials
Photovoltaic and façade collectors
Photovoltaic systems for regenerative compensation of the energy balance for the grid and building operations, preparation of the building for Smart Energy Networks
Vacuum insulation as hybrid supplement of the wood construction und highly efficient building insulation
Testing of vacuum glazing with variable overall energy transmittance (G-value) (hybrid combination of low U-values influence and regulate the size of solar heat gain in summer and winter. Optionally, an additional shading is not needed)


Overall Objective
Healthy indoor room air
High living quality
Optimized planning process
Industrial pre-fabrication in drywall construction
Ecological building materials, using certified products
Technical equipment with low electric power consumption


Partner-Concept-Industry Alliance

According to the current state-of-the-art “Ecological Houses” have inevitable to be built with certain products, as sealants, isolations, coatings, respecting scare raw materials as cupper. With special regard to sustainability, following the criteria of DGNB (German Sustainable Building Council), the cradle-to-cradle project is focusing on optimizing the use of materials. In process of the further planning, a catalogue will be developed, listing the products and systems that are not a bit better, but more efficient. In an interdisciplinary cooperation with partners from research, industry and planning, a symbiosis of ecological building materials, advanced materials and efficient technical building systems will be developed connecting all components in a management system.