An experimental maintenance free house built in Denmark is exploring ways to eliminate one of the single biggest obstacles to home ownership: upkeep.
Designed collaboratively by RealDaniaBYG and Arkitema Architects, the dwelling is patterned after a traditional Viking longhouse and features almost 1700 square feet of interior living space. The designers anticipate the house will need no significant maintenance for over 50 years, thanks to the novel system they devised to protect the outside of the house from the elements. The entire exterior, including the roof, is covered by a glass shield made of toughened recycled glass sheets.
The glass sheets are then fastened over the plywood exterior walls with a small air gap in between. That gap creates a natural circulation of air drawn in at the bottom and exhausted through a weatherproof opening at the top of the roof. That air flow needs no mechanical assistance and is designed to protect the plywood walls from decay caused by condensation. Raising the entire structure 1.5 feet above the ground promotes this free flow of air around the exterior of the home.
The home features a large central space made up of a living, dining and kitchen area with a bathroom and a technical room off to one side. A mezzanine level has four bedrooms and another bathroom. Energy-efficient skylights installed in the roof allow plenty of natural daylight to enter the home. The interior decor is exactly what one would expect in a Danish home, with lots of wood on the walls, ceilings and floors.
Keep in mind, though: it may be a maintenance free house “on paper”, but that doesn’t mean “the lady of the house” won’t want to change the drapes, paint the walls, and re-model the kitchen every two or three years, regardless.