The “Adaptable” Home


Imagine the ability to manipulate your home’s characteristics to adapt to time of day, weather, even the seasons.

Imagine a sun lit home on summer days transforming to a cozy and hardened shelter in winter or stormy nights. Imagine the roof above your head shifting, revealing a star filled night’s sky while the confining walls around you open up an unrestricted view of the outdoor landscape. That was the vision of Ross Russell and his wife Sally who looked to build a home in the rural land of Suffolk , England . The result, a one of a kind home they call The Sliding House. This ingenious piece of architecture is result of the combined resolution of owner and retired actuary Ross Russell and architect Alex de Rijke of DRMM Architects.

The House that Slides

The simple look of the wooden exteriors may deceive many to deem this establishment a barn house. But as one takes a closer look, they would find that the outer layer which is the roof and outer walls, literally slides away to reveal a second façade made completely out of glass. This two storey home with a built-up of approximately 2,153 sq ft is built on a longitudinal axis, enabling the outside layer or shell that sits on a 104 ft long track to be silently moved across the axis at a speed of 0.2 mph via four 24v car battery powered motors, hidden from sight. However, the owner plans to replace the car batteries with photovoltaic solar panels as the motors’ power source to make the home more sustainable and cutting down costs while he’s at it.

This brilliant “sliding” concept allows habitants to adjust lighting, temperature and in-house environment with the push of a button. When it comes to adjusting to the seasons, whether it’s covering from the sun during summer, letting the rays in to keep warm in the winter or vice versa, it’s all up to the owners. At the back of the house there is an annex across the yard that may be sunny or shaded on cue, also a wooden garage that is “off-track” located beside.

The sliding mechanism to power the movement of its 20-ton shell measuring 52ft long, 20ft wide and 23ft high is designed to allow three final positions to choose from; first, the shell may slide forward to create a shady canopy area extending from the glass house, which was designed so just in case the owners decide to build a swimming pool in the future. The second covers the yard and annexe while revealing the bathroom. The last position which stops halfway covers the bathroom but reveals the conservatory. Safety measures have been implemented where when one door closes in the home, another automatically opens.

From concept to application The Sliding House is undoubtedly one-of-a-kind, just stay clear of the tracks when the house is on the move!