Country Living With A Tiny Eco Footprint And A Big Backyard

It looks less like a “conceptual object” than it does an idyllic dwelling in the Czech countryside. But the Conceptual Object, designed and built by Labor 13 Architecture, was created to embody some high concepts in green building — most notably, the wholesale use of recycled materials.

Most of us have imagined, at some point or another, a simple, green life in the country. The Conceptual Object (which comes to us via Inhabitat) has turned that dream into a reality for the Czech family who inhabits it, but it’s also somewhat experimental as far as structures go. That’s because the house was built where an old barn once stod. That barn was systematically dismantled, then recycled into this new structure on site.

Conceptual Object Vernerice

image via Inhabitat

Sheltered by a series of semi-dilapidated stone walls, which add to the rustic aesthetic, the home includes five gates on the south side of the home that open completely. These gates help to erase the boundary between indoors and out, while making the home’s small physical footprint less of an issue. This is, essentially, a small home with a really big backyard, built from existing materials, on site — the ultimate in locally sourced.

The home was designed for maximum energy efficiency with a small environmental impact, on the cheap. It was also built solar-ready, and comes with a new well. Another significant green detail: it treats its own sewage on site.  Call it country living, writ small.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.


  • Reply August 19, 2012


    I don’t understand why country living is associated with small ecological footprints. It is always forgotten to include all the extra energy and space that is needed for living in the countryside. In the countryside as much as four times as much space is needed per inhabitant for infrastructures like roads as in the city. For all shopping the car is needed. All these extra’s increases the ecological footprint in the countryside considerable. So no tiny ecological footprints in the countryside.

    • Reply August 20, 2012

      Leland Lehrman

      Rene, as it turns out, the calculations for individuals don’t take account of city dwellers share of overall city energy use. The cities use the most energy, are the most dangerous places to the environment and drive most of the problems. Most of the issues with rural living stem from poor design of the village in the age of the automobile. Rural villages in the Czech Republic are walkable and bikable, so it depends on the rural location where you live. Bottom line for me: rural living can become naturally integrated, urban living, not so easy.

Leave a Reply