109 - Sun Catcher

Max Rymsha

Lviv, Ukraine




It is a synthesis of the natural materials and efficient architectural form. In the forest, where the sun is an occasional occurrence, this house is efficient in its use of the sunlight, thus saving the costs for heating. In the surrounding of the interior a person is united with nature, as an extraordinary panorama of the Canadian forests is right in front of his eyes, not to mention, that due to the natural materials the house can “breathe”, producing a unique microclimate simultaneously.

Only the simplest and the purest materials are used in the construction of this building, thus reducing the CO2 concentration and the costs for its building, as wood, straw and thatch are considered to be not only pure products, but also extremely cheap ones.


The form of the structure is influenced by the effective use of the solar energy. The house is at the most open to the South, what provides the maximum heating of the interior by the infrared radiation of the sun, minimizing the costs for heating at the same time. The highest elevations are situated south, west and east that is why they accumulate the energy during the day and give it back at night. This form provides a 9-hour insolation.

Additionally, this project is about minimizing construction volumes. The place where a person sleeps requires less width and height of the building, on the contrary in the area of communication, where a person is in an upright position, this height should be increased. Therefore, such thing as narrowing of the day to the night area takes place in the house. It is also important to mention that for the effective use of the thatch cover the required angle of the roof is 30 degrees, that is why the roof form is that dynamic.

In order to prevent the mechanical damage, at a time when the building is not in use, the front glazed elevation is closed by the terrace. For this sake it is used a portable winch that is attached to the folding part.


The main goal of this project was the lowest CO2 concentration and the minimal cost of the construction. For implementing of this purpose only the purest and the cheapest materials are used.

Frame of the pine trees. To ensure stability it is used the simple rigidly connected structural scheme of wooden beams 200×100mm and boards 20×100mm.

The heat insulation is made of straw. Straw is an effective insulation with the lower in comparison with the mineral wool thermal conductivity. This material has very low CO2 concentration and quite a reasonable price.

The surface is made of thatch. Thatch, as well as straw, is pure and cheap material. It provides good protection against water and snow for many years, not to mention about extra insulation. Thus, the house is supplied with an extra effective thermal barrier that provides a comfortable climate. Also, the absence of the synthetic materials allows the building to “breathe” and thus all the moisture goes out through the walls and roof, so the fungus will be created neither in the construction, nor in the interior.

Windows and doors are made of wood with the use of effective insulating glass to minimize the heat loss.

For installing on the section are used simple concrete foundations with the metal profiles, on which the house is based.


The interior is divided into two parts: the day and the night ones. In the night area is situated an eminence of 50cm, where there is a large mattress for 2 people. Thus, a large number of the things can be stored in the drawers under the bed. In the day zone there is located stove, 2 chairs and a small table where you can relax, chat and to have a meal. The interior is lined with the cedar board that creates a cosy atmosphere and complemented with the smell of the forest.

Use of the alternative energy sources

It is assumed an optional use of the solar battery and the heat pump.

Solar battery is located on the terrace southern, and the energy is stored in the batteries under the bed. Also, there is a heat pump that runs due to the stable temperature of the ground. In the summer, the hot air is being cool down underground, and in the winter, the cold air is being heated and fed into the interior.

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