Zoka Zola Architecture + Urban Design

Zoka Zola Architecture + Urban Design

Chicago, IL


Rose House

The house resembles a flower shape, with the
living spaces grouped around a central circular
courtyard in smaller and larger circles that
also continue to enclose the rest of the site as
defined garden spaces. This gives each room a
two-folded orientation -- to the central courtyard
and to the surrounding gardens.
Walls growing from the ground wrap around and
enclose these circular spaces. Each space is
centered in itself and related in adjacency and
connection to the adjoining spaces. The ceiling
rests on the walls like a large shallow bowl holding
the sky.
All openings, windows and doors are meant to
slide completely out of view, leaving only the
cast shape of the walls. The spaces open to
each other and the world around. To achieve
this, the solid bent laminated doors slide into
the adjacent walls or pivot. The windows slide
down into the parapet wall, the glazing wall of
the courtyard slides completely into the adjacent
living room wall.
During the warm months the life in the house will
be in or around its open-air central courtyard.
All surrounding spaces can spill their life into
the center. During the hottest days the slightly
indented courtyard can be closed and filled with
A shallow wading pool that cools the inhabitants
and the house creates a pleasant microclimate
in the house. At all other times, apart from the
hottest days, the courtyard will most likely be
used as an outdoor living space. The ventilation
of the courtyard is achieved though three passages
to the gardens and through the windows
and skylights of the house.
There are several gardens that are defined with
walls related to the house. The garden spaces
are spaces between the house and the rest of
the world. The doorways in the garden walls
connect all gardens with each other and to the
spaces outside the site.
The house is made of concrete. The ingredients
of the concrete are selected for their
performance and mineral properties. Muscovite,
zeolites and other selected pozzolan minerals
are used as cement, dolomite is used as gravel,
quartz is used as sand, and structured water is
Concrete walls are poured with four concrete
templates of 8 m, 4 m, 2 m and 1 m radius. The
roof is poured with 128 m diameter spherical
The walls are composed of two concrete layers
with an insulation layer in between. The floor
is a continuous concrete slab with hydronic
heating tubing cast in it. Both roof and floor are
insulated slabs.
The house has 336 m2 (3617 sq. ft.) of interior
spaces not including the garage. The house can
be scaled up or down from 250 m2 - 400 m2,
because the precise size of the spaces is not
vital for the experience of the house.
Water is energized with pioneering water energy
revitalizing techniques. Energy for heating and
cooling and electricity is generated with use of
the latest affordable renewable energy generation
technology. Natural cooling and ventilation
is provided through natural cross ventilation of
all spaces. The drain in the courtyard collects
the water from the footprint of the house
(383 m2) in an underground cistern to irrigate
the gardens.

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Status: Unbuilt
Location: Girona, Spain
My Role: Architect