superhelix studio’s ‘house behind the roof’ is sited in a dense suburb of krakow, poland. as natural areas in the expanding development are continuously being lost to new construction, an ecologically-minded approach was particularly important to the design team. the density of the neighborhood proved to be a direct influence on the overall form of the project: to ensure the privacy of the residents, the house is hidden from road and neighbors to the north behind an expressive roof surface. this major element of the project informs its name: house behind the roof.

superhelix studio
all images by bartłomiej drabik



the northern roof of the superhelix project is covered with succulents while the southern roof is lined with photovoltaic panels. while it would have been easier to construct a traditional green roof, local building codes required that the roof be sloped. this solution was ultimately more expensive, but as the area of the green surface significantly exceeded that of the building footprint, what had been taken from nature had been given back with interest. the building is constructed using laminated timber with undercut, diagonally guided elements on the underside of the roof surface. not only is this diagrid structure left exposed on the exterior, it also penetrates to the interior of the building. the edge that sees the intersection of the two roof slopes is opened up with a clerestory window, letting in a significant amount of natural light.

superhelix studio



superhelix studio gives careful consideration to a project’s materiality and its change over time. the elevation of the building is clad with planks of western red cedar. this particular wood does not require a protective finish to counter weather conditions and insects. in time it will take on a silver-gray patina. the green roof itself is low-maintenance and can last through long dry periods without watering. the succulent cover has a high water-retention and thrives beneath the shade of the northern orientation.

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project info:


project name: house behind the roof

architecture firm: superhelix pracownia projektowa – bartłomiej drabik’

principal architect: bartłomiej drabik

location: kraków, poland

completion year: 2018

area: 189 m2

construction: marcin matoga – konstrukcje budowlane