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Dimitar Angelov, Student of Architecture and Vladimir Lalov Student of Architecture

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Nowadays sustainable architecture shouldn’t be regarded as luxury, but as necessity. This is the architecture we have to seek and develop, because that’s the only way to preserve our planet for the future generations. So we must give them the chance to live in one pure, green, better world and give them the opportunity to continue and improve our achievements.
Passive buildings requires the use of Passivhaus standard for energy efficiency in a building, reducing its ecological footprint. It results in ultra-low energy buildings that require little energy for space heating or cooling. This standart firstly conversated in 1988 is developing with raging speed and for the past 20 years there are more than 20 000 structures built, mostly in Germany, but the idea for sustainable architecture is spreading worldwide fast and it has reached Bulgaria too.
In our opinion we should examine the Passivhaus standart according to our local environment, because although the climate is much similar to Central Europe there are some special features that can make differences when using the same materials and calculations.
Methodes of approach and premises that led to our architectural solution

First of all we strictly observed the Passivhaus standart obtaining all of the required parameters such as U factor lower than 0,15W/(m2K), lack of thermal bridges, reducing the need of energy for heating and cooling the building and etc.
However we decided to use as an inspiration the Bulgarian building and architectural traditions but at the same time we tried to design a contemporary and comfortable home appropriate for the needs of the modern person.
But before turning to the capacity of modern architecture solutions and materials, we tried to integrate some old fashion sustainable architecture technique such as facing the building to south, obtaining most of the energy provided by the sun, but preventing it from over-heating.

Building shading

Amongst with the historical achievements in sustainable architecture we’ve tried to integrate the modern technique in low-energy heating and cooling. For our proposal we use the traditional Passive House heating and cooling solution with ventilating system, that should heat or cool the air to the optimal temperature. However we thought that there could be some improvements that should improve the energy efficiency of the building even more. Our suggestion is to use different air circulation circle during the winter and the summer.

Winter cooling/heating circle

For the winter we suggest that the air system provide warm air through the ceilings and suction the cold air from the floors. This way there would be no temperature loses because of the feature of the warm air to rise high in the rooms and the cold to remain close to the floors.
For the summer in our opinion the system should work in reverse pushing the cooled air from the floors and then suctioning the already heated air from the ceilings. We have no scientific proof that this works but we’re eager to share our ideas.

Summer heating/cooling circle

And last but not least and very important we avoided and insulated every thermal bridge and obtained hermetically sealed construction and completely covered the requirements of the PassiveHaus standart.

Hermetical construction

Functional solutions of our proposal

At first we considered building a one storey house because of the proportions of the site plan, but when we calculated that building a two storey house will decrease the outer coating of our building with approximately 200 square meters we had no more doubts about the height of our project.

Volume/surface calculation

We’ve placed on the north side of our building the vertical communication and the service rooms – the room with the heating system and the other installations, the toilet on the first floor and the master bathroom on the second floor. The other bathroom couldn’t be placed north because as you’ll see we tried to optimize the requirement of only two bedrooms, considering the fact that if in our building lives a family with more than one kid it will be better if there’re two children bedroom, and for even better comfort we supplied them with individual bathrooms.
The children bedrooms are facing east and south which is the best orientation for children rooms according to Bulgarian recommendations. They aren’t very big but we should again mention that our suggestion is to have two small bedrooms than one bigger.
The Master Bedroom is also placed on the second floor and has its own bathroom. The south wall of the bedroom has a large interior window that presents great view to the yard and also a look to the dining room on the first floor, although the opposite is impossible. And to complete the solution of the second floor we’ve organized a large hall which serves as a communication center of the floor and also plays the role of secondary living room.
The first floor is organized on two levels with difference of about 30 cm, the light height of the entry hall, the kitchen and the dining room is 2.50m and the living room has an extra 30cm so it’s 2.80. Using this difference is a way we separate the area without building interior walls so we have one united space, but despite this it’s very well differentiated to smaller spaces or areas, as you will see.
We have two exits leading to the garden one from the dining room – that leads us to our porch where we have organized an open air dining room, and the other from the living room leading directly to the ground level.

Architectural and design solution of the proposal

Volume. First of all we maintained the theory of the compact structure and volume, despite that we’ve decided that as we’ve already mentioned designing in Bulgaria we should consider some of the local building traditions such as using wood (for the construction and planking) and stone materials (just for outer coating) and protruding parts of the second floor above the first. We tried to combine the traditional white coating, with wood and stone, meanwhile adding curtain wall on the south façade and one big window on the west. The other windows are smaller but their proportions are picked as if to complete the design of the building. The combination of these materials gives the building a modern look, that also creates comfortable atmosphere.
The roof is divided in three parts - two slopes on 15 degrees and a flat part that is 100% glazed, which gives extra light in the secondary living room and also contributes for the modern design of the building.

In conclusion we must say that as students this is our first try in designing building that correspond completely to Passive House standart and it was a real challenge. We hope you examine our proposal with interest and if you have any questions we will be glad to discuss them.