Brilliant Greenhouse House Creates Natural Warming!

The average temperature in Stockholm in January is -3°C (27°F). For homeowners Marie Granmar and Charles Sacilotto, it can be much warmer thanks to the greenhouse that surrounds their home. For example at the end of January, it can be about -2°C outside and it can be between 15 to 20°C upstairs says Sacilotto. He was inspired to build a home inside a greenhouse through his relationship with architect Bengt Warne who began designing the first Naturhus (Nature House) in 1974.

Passive-Solar Greenhouse-Wrapped Nature House in Sweden. In 1974, architect Bengt Warne designed the prototype for a Nature House in Sweden using a greenhouse to handle the cold winters. Instead of converting an already existing building and moving inside it, Warne built a small summer house and then encased it in glass, calling it a Nature House (or Naturhus). Marie Granmar and Charles Sacilotto were inspired by this design, creating a home near Stockholm that integrated with the elements of Earth, water, air, and fire. The electricity bills have been cut in half, heated by an eco-friendly wood-burning oven and a hot water masonry heater. The greenhouse also shelters Mediterranean-style gardens that couldn’t survive the Swedish seasons including figs, kiwi, peaches, wine grapes, etc.

Originally Sacilotto looked for an empty building lot so he could build an entirely new Naturhus (nature house), but he eventually settled on an old summer house on the Stockholm archipelago. Using Warne’s design as inspiration, he covered the small summer home, plus an addition, in the 4-millimeter glass. The footprint of the greenhouse is nearly double that of the home, leaving plenty of room for a wrap-around garden, and since inside the bubble it’s a Mediterranean climate, the couple now grows to produce atypical for Sweden (such as figs, tomatoes, cucumbers). The favorite spot is the glass-covered roof deck. Since there’s no longer a need for a roof, the couple removed it and now have a large space for sunbathing, reading, or playing with their son on swings and bikes.

The greenhouse isn’t the only innovative point to the Granmar-Sacilotto greenhouse/home design. They are also completely independent from city sewage. Built by Sacilotto who is an engineer by training, the sewage system begins with a urine-separating toilet and uses centrifuges, cisterns, grow beds, and garden ponds to filter the water and compost the remains. Sacilotto says that it is not just to use nature, the sun, and the water, but it is all a philosophy of life, to live in another world.

His mentor Warne described this other world as another dimension. The exterior spaces of the greenhouse/house were once exposed to the outdoor elements, are now able to be used all year long. From the outside deck to the rooftop patio, which was changed from being just a roof to an outdoor living space that can be used all year long. He says that living in a greenhouse gives architecture a fourth dimension, where time is represented by movements of naturally recycled endless flows of growth, sun, rain, wind, and soil in plants, energy, air, water, and earth. Sacilotto calls this Naturehousing.

More about this story can be found at: Youtuber: Kirsten Dirksen

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