Sliding house can change with the seasons

We all know what they say about those who live in glass houses. But imagine if these houses were protected from stone throwers by 50-tonne walls that could slide over the glass, all at the push of a button.

Now imagine that these massive 28-meter walls move via a hidden railway that is powered by nothing more than car batteries.

This is exactly what London architects dRMM have designed and built with the sliding house in Suffolk, England.

While the sliding walls weren’t specifically designed to fight off intruders with sling shots, the ‘shell’ walls are an ingenious invention to keep the home warm in winter and enable the one house to change into three different shapes.

The vision

Telling the architectural company that they were prepared to “be radical”, the clients Ross and Sally Russell wanted a countryside house that “was a little different.”

Russell sought help from his old school friend Alex de Rijke from dRMM.

The house can be completely glass. Picture: The Russell House

According to the brief, the couple’s vision was to build a home where they could “grow food, entertain and enjoy the landscape.”

Rijke says the sliding house design perfectly accommodates different seasons by varying the shape of the space, allowing for shelter, sunlight and insulation.

The Design

  • The home is made of three different buildings- the main house, a red garage and a guest home.
  • The walls are controlled by a button and sit on a track that allowing them to slide over and cover part or all of the glass structure.
  • The design allows for different variations to the home.
  • It can be completely glass with an insulated guest house and a sheltered area between the three buildings.
  • The walls can also sit in between the glass and guest houses, providing partial insulation for both and an undercover extension of the garage.

Designed to combat the effects of a cold northern hemisphere winter, the main building can also be completely sheltered and insulated with a courtyard that opens up between the three buildings when the walls cover the entire structure.

  • The walls can even be slid a little bit further to create an outdoor shaded patio.
  • The main glass residence features a kitchen, dining room, TV area and bedroom on the ground floor.
  • Upstairs is a master bedroom, library, bathroom and living room.

The house can be like a glass atrium at night, or it can be sheltered with sky lights. Picture: The Russell House

The guest house is equipped with a downstairs bedroom, kitchen and bathroom plus a library and living room upstairs.

The house was built in 2009 and has won five different design awards.

Originally published as Sliding house can change with the seasons by Bree Guthrie. Author at .