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The little black house on Lake Ammer: A look inside

The black house on the shores of Lake Ammer near Munich in Germany somehow manages to escape every architectural cliché: Standing defiant in the face of the mundane uniformity that has permeated new-build culture, the project is a poster-child for greater diversity in modern architecture. But there’s much more to this building concept than pure aesthetics – the interior design, which was created by the leading architects at Büro Wagner, also harbours a few surprises.

Black façade: Substance and style

The layout and structure of this small house is governed by the unique topography of the plot on which it was constructed: The home is nestled between an office building and an apartment block, which is connected directly to the building but deliberately offset in height to create the impression of two stand-alone units.

The location and layout requirements inspired the architects to experiment with overlapping spaces of different heights – separated by different roofs on the outside but flowing seamlessly into one another inside.

While the black façade certainly contributes to the building’s unique appearance, it was designed for substance as well as style. The charred wood surface makes the façade not only water-repellent, but also resistant to mould – without any chemical treatment at all. The concrete interior walls also have a practical purpose: They serve as thermal energy stores for the building’s panel heating system.

Minimalist and sleek: A look behind the black façade

Inside, the 80-square-metre home has a kitchen with a living and dining area on the ground floor and a bedroom plus a bathroom and separate toilet on the lower-ground level. The living area above the kitchen, which opens out onto a terrace, is also a highlight: Thanks to the two large pivoting windows, the northern and western façades of the house can be opened up to seamlessly merge indoor and outdoor space.

The interior concept is understated and minimalist, mirroring the tone set by the exterior of the building. All of the fixtures and fittings – including the kitchen, cupboards, windows and doors and the staircase – are crafted in natural oiled oak, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere in spite of the sleek coolness of the interior.

It’s all in the details

In minimalist interiors, there’s a lot riding on the details. It’s important to strike the perfect balance between design and functionality – right down to the smallest details, including socket outlets and light switches.


In the black house, the Gira E2 design line in black matt adds an extra touch of elegance to the walls.

The architects of this building really did think of everything – as testified by the project’s nomination for the 2020 DAM Prize for architecture.


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What do you think of this charismatic home and its unique black façade? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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