Living in a sustainable home doesn’t mean giving up your architectural design sensibilities. While some are content with simple earthen Hobbit houses, fans of modern architecture can find a balance between aesthetics and green living.

Located in Switzerland, Jewel Box is an energy-efficient, green-roofed residence designed by Chinese studio Design Paradigms for an environmental consultant. Overlooking the shores of one of Lausanne, Switzerland’s largest lakes, the jewel box villa sits on a long, narrow plot with a significant level change throughout. The design focuses on the lakefront views that open up towards the rear of the house.

The homeowner, who was also the main concept architect for the project, wanted to create the most eco-friendly and technologically-advanced house in Switzerland, but without having everything on show. The JewelBox was designed to use active and passive energy creation, storage and management. There are solar panels in the west façade which are orientated towards the warm afternoon sun, while panels on the roof capture energy all day long. The facade panels also function as solar blinds to keep the secondary facade clear of any significant solar radiation.

A variety of materials were chosen for the structure, including recycled concrete, steel, and wood. A living garden garden that is fed water from a 50m3 reservoir grows on the outer shell softening the look of the concrete. Aside from its aesthetic value, the multi-faced vertical garden helps regulate heat-gain throughout the day.

The jewel box villa was deemed as such thanks to the juxtaposed form, which gives the illusion that the home is being opened. Glass and metal peek out from beneath, resembling the precious jewels within. A beautiful example of contemporary green home design.

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