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Michał Kucharski and o4 architekci clad old windmill with charred wood in a Polish town

Poland Architecture News - Feb 01, 2022 - 15:45   975 views

Michał Kucharski and o4 architekci clad old windmill with charred wood in a Polish town

Polish architect Michał Kucharski and Polish architecture studio o4 architekci have transformed an old windmill into a residence clad in charred wood in a Polish town, Lubartów, in eastern Poland.

Named Windmill House, the 79-square-metre house takes references from the existing conditions of an old mill at site. The project's blackened wood appearance translates the historical references to the new project. The architects carefully created a balance in between old and new. 

Michał Kucharski and o4 architekci clad old windmill with charred wood in a Polish town

The project was first awarded in an intentional competition, called Contemporary House 2014 – Village House. The architects Tomasz Padło and Michał Kucharski were awarded the Distinction Award from the Faculty of Architecture of the Silesian University of Technology for the project, entitled "House of the windmill".

Michał Kucharski and o4 architekci clad old windmill with charred wood in a Polish town

As Michał Kucharski and studio o4 architekci explained, a few years later, the project was noticed by an investor from the Lublin region, who was in possession of an old windmill. 

The client wanted to transform this old windmill with necessary modifications, which could be adapted to customer requirements as well as technical and local conditions.

Michał Kucharski and o4 architekci clad old windmill with charred wood in a Polish town

The building is surrounded by a mesmerizing rural landscape. With its distinctive and a well-known form, it presents a characteristic and strong element of the traditional architecture of the Polish countryside.

The building has a very simple layout, a small square plan and it combines the modern way of living with new residential functions. With this renovation, the old mill gains a second life and a new, modern appearance, while it simultaneously retains its original expression, form and language.  

Michał Kucharski and o4 architekci clad old windmill with charred wood in a Polish town

According to the architects, the challenge was to rearrange the functional program within the existing form. It restrained its programmatic functions within its specific verticality.  

"Due to its previous purpose, the building was principally vertical. The ground plan was restricted to external dimensions of 6.5 x 6.5m. Therefore, the rooms were spread over 3 above-ground floors and an additional mezzanine," said Michał Kucharski and o4 architekci in a project description.

Michał Kucharski and o4 architekci clad old windmill with charred wood in a Polish town

An underground section is dedicated to more living space. This part contains a garage, technical room, and spacious guest lounge. The reinforced concrete structure is covered with earth and supports the main body. 

Moreover, the team creates an external terrace which is situated on the top of an extended part of the basement. 

The above-ground floors contain rooms for the main users: the family. On the ground floor, there is a living space with a kitchen and a reading room. This area is used for public spaces. 

Michał Kucharski and o4 architekci clad old windmill with charred wood in a Polish town

The ground floor is opened onto the garden with extensive glazing, with an additional hidden window that allows a view of the entrance area. On the next two upper floors, the architects place more private areas such as bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms. 

The top floor has a mezzanine comprising a workspace with a commanding view of the surrounding fields.

Michał Kucharski and o4 architekci clad old windmill with charred wood in a Polish town

"Due to its new function, the building required a completely new structure," added the architects. 

"Old and reusable elements have been cleaned and restored. The lower part has reinforced concrete floors, walls, and ceiling. Four pillars seated on the ground floor support the upper levels of the building." 

The team also used old beams from the mill in the outer walls, creating a half-timbered wall interior.

Michał Kucharski and o4 architekci clad old windmill with charred wood in a Polish town

The finish materials of the building are a combination of old and new, historical and modern elements. The team created a material concept that is based on an interplay between three materials: concrete, wood and new wooden boards. 

While old wooden construction boards were used on the facade, the new wooden boards were partially charred. In some places, another important material comes into play - reinforced concrete. This is also used to support the building.

Michał Kucharski and o4 architekci clad old windmill with charred wood in a Polish town

"It also finds application in the retaining walls," the architects added. 

"The final significant material is glass. It’s mostly used on the ground floor, in the underground part, and on the mezzanine." 

"It permits the interior to be opened up to the surrounding nature and ploughland," they added. 

Michał Kucharski and o4 architekci clad old windmill with charred wood in a Polish town

On the upper parts, the team used high vertical windows to grasp the views towards the landscape. The composition of the windows creates a unified impression with the repeating rhythm of the facade planks. In the roof, they used wooden shingles to complement the same architectural language. 

Michał Kucharski and o4 architekci clad old windmill with charred wood in a Polish town

"The process of creation is a combination of a bold and innovative design idea, (a) technical workshop(s), and the bold approach of the investor," according to the architects.

Michał Kucharski and o4 architekci clad old windmill with charred wood in a Polish town

Michał Kucharski and o4 architekci clad old windmill with charred wood in a Polish town

Michał Kucharski and o4 architekci clad old windmill with charred wood in a Polish town

Michał Kucharski and o4 architekci clad old windmill with charred wood in a Polish town

Michał Kucharski and o4 architekci clad old windmill with charred wood in a Polish town

Michał Kucharski and o4 architekci clad old windmill with charred wood in a Polish town

Michał Kucharski and o4 architekci clad old windmill with charred wood in a Polish town

Floor plan

Michał Kucharski and o4 architekci clad old windmill with charred wood in a Polish town

Floor plan

Michał Kucharski and o4 architekci clad old windmill with charred wood in a Polish town

Floor plan

Michał Kucharski and o4 architekci clad old windmill with charred wood in a Polish town

Floor plan

Michał Kucharski and o4 architekci clad old windmill with charred wood in a Polish town

Floor plan

Michał Kucharski and o4 architekci clad old windmill with charred wood in a Polish town

Sections

Michał Kucharski and o4 architekci clad old windmill with charred wood in a Polish town

Elevations

Michał Kucharski and o4 architekci clad old windmill with charred wood in a Polish town

Scheme

Michał Kucharski and o4 architekci clad old windmill with charred wood in a Polish town

Scheme

Michał Kucharski and o4 architekci clad old windmill with charred wood in a Polish town

Scheme

Michał Kucharski and o4 architekci clad old windmill with charred wood in a Polish town

Scheme

Michał Kucharski and o4 architekci clad old windmill with charred wood in a Polish town

Scheme

Michał Kucharski and o4 architekci clad old windmill with charred wood in a Polish town

Scheme

Michał Kucharski and o4 architekci clad old windmill with charred wood in a Polish town

Scheme

Project facts

Project name: Windmill House

Architects: Michał Kucharski & o4 architekci

Location: Lubartów, Poland 

Size: 79m2 

Date: 2021 

All images © Rafał Chojnacki

All drawings © Michał Kucharski & o4 architekci

> via Michał Kucharski & o4 architekci