House on Garda Lake- where there are no barriers between indoor and environment


The House at Lake Garda has been designed by the architect Eileen Mayer and it was awarded with an Active House label in the framework of the contest launched by the Active House Alliance.

The House on Garda Lake is a private residence built on the shores of the Garda Lake, in northern Italy and it is an example of how the Active House principles can be used into a Mediterranean climate together with the passive house principles and a sophisticated and clean design.


According to one of the members of the jury of the Active House label contest, Professor Marco Imperadori “Many labelling schemes for buildings are focusing on heat savings but it is also important to focus on buildings in hot climates”.  Professor Imperadori also highlighted that “The house at Lake Garda has solved the energy efficient issue in a hot climate and still it allows for large window areas and good daylight conditions. Such big windows are fundamental in a beautiful environment like Lake Garda is. Therefore, not only climate comfort but also psychological comfort helps in an Active House.”


The idea of the House of Garda Lake comes from the requirements of the owners, an Austrian family, who needed a holiday house with minimal maintenance from the technical perspective and easy to handle. A house which would provide good conditions during the hot summers but also comfort indoor climate during the cold winters.

Architect Mayer also wanted to use this project as a way to inspire construction companies and craftsman like colleagues to open their mind and to arouse their interest for the passive house standards.


The result is a near zero energy building where barriers between the indoor and the outdoor are almost non-existent. A part of the design has been to open the inner soul of the building creating an open space similar to the outdoor situation. There is given continuity in transition in the whole ground floor between entrance – kitchen – dining – living and outdoor spaces with terraces like also in the transition between ground and upper floor due to the double height of the dining room with its high glazed wall. Light is filling out every corner like also the bedrooms situated on first floor.


I decided to participate to this contest because I’m convinced that the Garda Lake project with its especial presence of daylight and it’s simple but delicious design presents a good example for architectural design possible also in NZEB buildings that offers reduced energy demand with a high indoor quality’ explains architect Mayer.


The Austrian family is very satisfied with the final result, one of the users noted that: ‘the house is built with focus on humans needs and you can feel it. The always stable regime of temperature summer and winter is very comfortable. The surrounding area of green hills and fields helps to relax body and mind for living and working. The main difference is the fresh air and light. It’s a healthy building just for the continues air changing. While before I suffered often of bronchitis since I am living in this house I hadn’t any more problems. The light is fantastic and changes the quality of every day. I always have been a person that wished to live outdoors so for me this is a good answer to my need.

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