Passive house in Lozenica, Sandanski

APXE is currently in the design process of a timber frame Mediterranean architecture for the context of the sunniest region of Bulgaria. Adjacent to the town of Melnik, the village of Lozenica is situated in a beautiful unspoiled area surrounded by picturesque hills, sandy pyramids and vast vineyards. This is the location for the newest construction project of the studio. We will apply our skills and experience to build entirely with timber and very natural load bearing and insulating materials, passive house standard, with the use of modern innovative strategies and technologies for the sake of energy independence.

According the assignment we designed two houses in traditional Mediterranean style on a shared plot of 6K sq.m., entirely with timber load bearing structure. Our client called them house Lozenitsa and house Sedona. Lozenitsa is a passive house and the bigger of the two with an area of 410 sq.m. House Sedona is a guest house for seasonal habitation with an area of 53 sq.m. Both houses are located freely in the plot and are oriented towards the small free form swimming pool.

This is one of the largest timber construction projects with factory prefabricated large-size panels in Bulgaria. Once again APXE demonstrated that the construction of timber load bearing structure is not inferior to the traditional masonry/concrete one, it is achievable, feasible and possible in Bulgaria moreover built by Bulgarian companies.

Until now, timber frame houses in the country have been associated mainly with bungalows and shacks. The early socialist production is namely of such buildings. The memories of most of our countrymen are from that period and for that reason still believe the timber buildings are only suitable for a two-week vacation at the seaside – i.e. the next level of a shelter after the tent. Bulgarians do not consider these suitable for serious long-term investment and do not see their future home as timber house. The realities today in mass supply of timber frame houses in Bulgaria are not very different from the long outdated socialist concept of wooden shacks. The reason we believe is that many manufacturers of such buildings are non-professionals in construction without proper education, possess only some limited basic technological ideas, not familiar with the trends and technical parameters of timber frame buildings in the leading countries in Europe. The notion of shed will hardly step back, given that the mass production in the country continue to build houses type “bungalows” with very thin walls and roofs and insufficient thermal and acoustic insulation, do not apply vapor control membranes and the building physics is not being analyzed nor subject to design. The mass-built houses in Bulgaria often cannot even meet the minimum Bulgarian codes and standards for comfort and energy efficiency, but are often presented on manufacturers’ websites as low-energy and even as passive buildings. There is almost no control over this type of construction. Customers also do not understand almost anything about construction and are willing to accept anything as long as it looks relatively well, if cheap. All this leads to entirely false notion of the potential future users, to reinforcement of the perception of the shed and a distortion of the demand in real estate. If there is a demand in timber houses, it is because it is mistakenly believed they should be a lot cheaper.

It is rare to find well-informed clients understanding the benefits of a well designed and built timber house with adequate insulation, acoustics, fire protection, stability and durability. However this is the case with our clients who in 2016 are to implement the project among the beautiful scenery and landscapes of the village Lozenitsa. For us the timber passive house standard construction has immeasurable qualities and represents a great investment as only in this case the building can ensure compliance with the construction codes, comfort, healthy living environment and durability – all at once. It is not cheaper than traditional concrete and masonry construction, neither is more expensive. However, it is more environmentally friendly, with faster rate of construction, efficient and precise in size and its lines, unlike the traditional one. We believe that with few completed passive houses in Bulgaria we will forever change the conception of Bulgarians for timber construction.

The construction is completed.

Sq. Area: 470
Designer: Studio APXE
Design Team: Lead architect: Georgi Nikolov, project architect Boshko Takov
Investor: “Tuchenica” Ltd.
Construction: Pre-construction project management Studio APXE