polish-based superhelix studio generates a rhythmic method of residential organization with its ‘house with gills.’ comprised of three dwelling units — each with two apartments and two garages — the project is situated along the border of kraków in a neighborhood dominated by a repetitive language of nineties-era townhouses, or terrace houses. characterized by a row of interconnected residences, this local typology had recently been declared unsuitable by zoning laws in the centralized lot, calling for a more strategic solution which allows units to be both separate and filled with natural sunlight. through the layout of the house with gills, the design team develops an unconventional method of fenestration which fulfills these parameters while introducing a sculptural geometry.

superhelix house gills
all images by bartłomiej drabik



superhelix studio with DZMT develops the house with gills, with its unconventional organization, as a result of the strict parameters of the site. to fulfill the need for a densely-packed, light filled collection of dwellings, the design team introduces an imbricated string of units, each of which angles outward as it overlaps its neighbor. this layout offers the opportunity for natural sunlight from any direction while maintaining privacy as adjacent units do not face inward toward each other. this layering of angled units recalls the naturally occuring image of gills, a reference which led to the title of the residential project.

superhelix house gills



with the aim of maintaining a uniform and visually consistent object, the walls of each dwelling of the house of gills are clad in white plaster and lead to white standing seam metal roofing. while the white plaster materiality echoes that of the typical surrounding fabric buildings, window frames and setbacks are finished in black cladding, visually emphasizing the project’s unique gills. each building has two separate apartments. while the ground floor unit offers four bedrooms, the apartment above spans two levels and offers six bedrooms. strategic layouts and compact gathering spaces allow for a large number of rooms in a relatively small area.

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project info:


project title: houses with gills

architecture: superhelix pracownia projektowa

lead architect: bartłomiej drabik

client: DZMT

completion year: 2019

location: zielonki, poland

area: 580 square meters

engineering: marcin matoga – konstrukcje budowlane

photography: bartłomiej drabik