In the Frame: Indrek Kuldkepp

When it comes to solving the housing needs of our planet’s expanding population, future technologies and infrastructure are often the go-to options. But construction entrepreneur Indrek Kuldkepp has found the key to solving his housing needs, and those of thousands of others around the world, by looking to the past.


George Zhordania


Anrike Piel & Maja Pildid

Indrek, founder of the Estonia-based company Avrame, was seeking an affordable way to build himself a home in 2015 when in his research he came across the A-frame house design. It is so-called because it has steeply angled sides that begin at or near the foundation line and meet at the top in the shape of the letter A.

Although the triangle shape of the A-frame has been used throughout building history, it surged in popularity around the world in the post-World War II era.

In 1934, the Austrian-American architect Rudolph Michael Schindler built the first modern A-frame house in California, and it was this style that other architects went on to popularise from the 1950s to the 1970s.

As the middle classes prospered during this era, there was a demand for recreational second homes, whether on lakes or as ski chalets. The A-frame was perfect for this as it was easy and cheap to build and efficient in the use of materials. Its unique shape was considered fun and effective for a holiday home but too out there for a primary base.

Photo by Maja Pildid Photo by Maja Pildid
'Building a home is – for most of us, at least – a once in a lifetime project.'

However, through Indrek’s work over the past couple of years, the A-frame is coming back into fashion as a cost-effective, durable and efficient housing solution among homeowners from Europe to Africa, the US and Asia. His numerous successful sales and happy customers show that this style is not just a flash in the pan.

‘The A-frames were hugely popular in the ’70s,’ Indrek says, ‘but due to insulation issues, they were mainly used as summer homes. However, this [problem] has long been solved. It’s time to re-evaluate the A-frames.’

Born and raised in Estonia and having worked in the international wooden dwellings market for nearly two decades, Indrek knew what to look for when he began researching ways to build his own home. Even so, his standards proved to be too high for what he could afford and he struggled to find what he was looking for: a house that didn’t cost the Earth to build, that’s sturdy and has low maintenance costs, and that he could truly call ‘home’.

‘I think it’s a common problem for all buyers,’ he says. ‘When you’re not looking for a home, the market seems to be flooded with numerous suitable options, but as soon as you develop the actual need, the market dries up very fast.

‘You always want what’s best for you and your family, right? And as buying or building a home is – for most of us, at least – a once in a lifetime project, we like to take our time with it, making sure every little detail is in place. I had the same problem, you see. There were some specific needs I was looking to meet, but with all the options out there, I simply did not find the right combination.’

In Indrek’s opinion, as potential homeowners have become more knowledgeable and (rightfully) more demanding, increasing pressure has been placed on realtors. ‘Materials, sustainability, autonomy… these are just the first things that pop into my head. Depending on the region and the customers, the demands for a new home can be really high.’ He adds with a laugh: ‘What, you think I wasn’t a picky customer?’

With his years of experience in the market, Indrek arrived at a simple logic that he calls ‘the price seesaw’.

‘Just like a kids’ seesaw,’ he explains, ‘there is no way both of the seesawers can be up at the same time, nor is it possible for them to be down on the ground.

‘There is a similar logic with house prices as well: you can get a home at a very affordable price, but you’ll most likely end up spending a fortune on different improvements. And vice versa: a well thought out and professionally designed and engineered house can truly be your home, but that type of hands-free comfort usually comes with lots of zeros attached to it – it’s very costly.’

When Indrek discovered the A-frame he concluded that this was exactly what he had been looking for: an affordable home to build that could be run efficiently. ‘After giving it serious thought and discussing numerous details with my friends better acquainted with modern-day engineering, I came to the conclusion that an affordable home relies on efficient planning and execution; a reliable framework,’ he says.

Photo by Maja Pildid
‘The construction project itself seemed a bit like madness, so I thought, why not go all in?’

Indrek’s home – the first A-frame he designed and erected in the middle of a forest – looks simple but its appearance is deceptive; it’s actually extremely well-structured and thought out.

‘I had this patch of forest and when I say forest, I mean trees and nature older than I am. There wasn’t even a road leading up to the plot. In fact, there was no plot. I just had a vague idea of how I should go about doing it. Amusingly, though, I had no fear of failing, even though the thing I went for had never been attempted,’ Indrek says.

The ‘attempt’ was to build an A-frame home in Estonia. As elsewhere, A-frame houses were not new to Estonia but they had mainly acted as summer homes. ‘During winter time it can get pretty crispy in Estonia, especially in the southern parts where I live. -25°C (-13°F) is not unheard of, so you might imagine insulation and heating were my main concerns.’

With his new home planned in the middle of the wilderness on what had only recently become a plot, Indrek had no hope of getting himself connected to any infrastructure: gas, power, sewage, etc. ‘Truth be told, I’m really roughly 200 metres away from the nearest standpipe, but the thought of being “connected” didn’t really seem interesting.’

That’s when he started to seriously consider various off-grid options. ‘Off-grid’, or ‘off-the-grid’, is a lifestyle that promotes autonomy and not being connected to any government or municipal infrastructures, be it drinking water, sewage or electricity. ‘The construction project itself seemed a bit like madness, so I thought, why not go all in?’ Indrek recalls with a chuckle.

Photo by Maja Pildid

With all the components in place, the construction could begin, and within a year Indrek’s first A-frame was standing tall. ‘In order to really get the feel for what I was building, I was hands-on all the time. Be it the choice of materials or some construction principles, I was constantly in the loop. Besides, with construction, you see the result of your work right away.’

Indrek says the construction wasn’t that troublesome, aside from a host of pesky problems that cropped up. ‘I had help, of course, with friends with architecture degrees holding my hand along the way. Nevertheless, construction can be unpredictable on some occasions, no matter how good of a team you have. Can you imagine coming up with solutions constantly along the way?’

Indrek concedes that in retrospect he might have done a few things differently, but values the knowledge he has gained, which has helped him to build up his A-frame company. ‘The fact that I live in an A-frame myself helps a lot. It inspires trust, but not only in the eyes of the customer, but mainly in myself,’ Indrek says. ‘One of the things I was able to incorporate into the A-frames we sell is the DIY component, making it possible to erect the dwellings oneself.’

What Indrek appreciates most about the A-frame is how efficiently it can be built and maintained. ‘When I told you about the seesaw and the fact that you cannot build affordably and have a cost-efficient living at the same time… Well, to some extent I stand by it, but my home does come bloody close to achieving both these goals. If technology develops even further, perhaps I’m going to have to eat my words some day,’ he laughs.

Photo by Maja Pildid Photo by Maja Pildid
‘I think one’s living space is a representation of one’s personal space.'

According to Indrek, the housing market is – in most cases – built on bells and whistles and with no options for autonomy when it comes to cost. ‘I had a lot of time to thoroughly think through all the aspects I wanted in my home, but most modern-day houses are built to earn someone profit. I’m not opposed to it, but it’s just the way things are. Time is, indeed, money to the developers of such projects and I can respect that, but it ultimately means the homes that are built to be owned, eventually start owning you.’

Indrek is referring to all the aspects that modern-day houses have, but which are highly susceptible to man-made external influence. ‘Honestly, I’m mainly referring to bills. I pay nothing for my electricity, for example. Nor drinking water. It might sound like something out of a survival book, but it is not. That’s the way of life of the future. I have full control over my costs.

For Indrek, homes of the future will be one of two types: homes that are fully integrated with everything and everyone or homes that strive towards ultimate autonomy.

Indrek strongly believes that a home should be a place of refuge. ‘Nowadays, where a majority of life is digital and everything is in “the cloud”, a nomadic lifestyle is very popular. Though from an anthropological point of view, this is a huge change for us as a species. Most of us are accustomed and used to staying in one place or – at the very least – returning to that place at least once a day.’

As well as designing houses that are affordable to both construct and maintain, with the help of the Avrame team, Indrek has managed to reduce the floor size of his buildings, making them a huge hit in locations where land is scarce.

‘I think one’s living space is a representation of one’s personal space. Not to get too esoteric, but we want to feel cosy and safe at home, but that’s not possible to achieve if you constantly move around,’ Indrek says. ‘Working long days just to keep the lights and heating on should not be the future. That’s not the way of life.’

To read more about Indrek Kuldkepp’s A-frame homes go to

框架之中: 英卓克∙ 库凯波



George Zhordania


Anrike Piel & Maja Pildid

爱沙尼亚公司艾薇渼(Avrame) 创办人英卓克于2015年正寻求一种经济实惠的方式为自己建造一个家,他在研究中发现A型框架(A-frame) 住宅设计。它之所以被称为A型框架是因为它在基线处或附近起始的陡峭角度,犹如字母A的形状在顶部结合。




Photo by Maja Pildid Photo by Maja Pildid


英卓克说: “A型框架在70年代广受欢迎,但因房屋的保暖问题,它们只被用为夏季避暑房屋。然而这些问题早就解决,故是时候重新评估A型框架了。”

他在爱沙尼亚出生长大,并在国际木制住宅市场工作将近20年,当英卓克开始研究如何盖自己的住屋时,他知道要寻找的是什么。即便如此,他的标准证明对他所能负担的与他努力找寻的东西太高了: 一间无须花费太多、坚固并维护成本低建造的房屋,他能称之为“家”的地方。

他说: “我认为这对所有买家而言是普遍的问题,当你没在找房子时,市场上遍布许多合适的选择,但当你开始有找房的实际需求时,市场选择将迅速的干枯。”

“你总是想把最好的给自己与家庭,对吗? 当购买或建造一个家,对我们许多人而言至少是一生一次的计划,我们想要按部就班,确保每一个环节都到位。你看,我有同样的问题,我想要满足一些特定需求,但就现有的选择当中,我根本没有找到最合适的组合。”

在英卓克看来,随着浅在屋主知识变得更为渊博并也理所当然的要求更多,房产经理人的压力越来越大。“建材、可持续性、自主性…等,这些只是最先闪过我脑海中的东西。根据地区与客户的不同,对新房的需求性可能非常高。”他笑说: “什么? 你认为我还不算挑剔的客户?”


他解释着: “如同小孩玩的跷跷板两端绝无可能同时升上去、抑或同时下降那样。”

“房价也有类似的逻辑: 或许你用实惠的价格买到房子,但最后很可能花许多钱在装修上。反之亦然,通过精心计划、专业设计与工程化的房子可真正成为你的家,但这种先进带来的舒适通常价格尾数要加好几个零,实在挺昂贵。”

当英卓克发现A型框架所得的结论也正是他一直在寻找的: 建造一间可负担又能有效运作的房屋。他说:“通过认真思考及与更熟悉现代工程的朋友们进行多次细节讨论后,我得到的结论是: 一个经济实惠的家仰赖于有效的计划和执行;即一个可靠的框架。”

Photo by Maja Pildid


英卓克说: “有片森林,当我说森林,我指的是树木与大自然年龄都比我还要大,甚至没有一条路可通到这片地。事实上也根本毫无计划,我对该如何建造只有一个大概的想法。有趣的是我并不担心失败,即使我从未尝试做过这件事。”

“试图”在爱沙尼亚盖间A型框架住宅,如同其他地方,A型框架房屋对爱沙尼亚来说并不陌生,它们主要用途为避暑别墅。 “爱沙尼亚的冬天挺冷的,尤其在我住的南方零下25度并非前所未闻,于是隔热和暖气设备是我最主要关注的。

他计划在旷野中的新家,最近才成为一块开发地,英卓克对与任何瓦斯、电力与污水处理等设施连接不带有希望。“说实话,离我最近的水塔要200米,光想着怎么去‘连接’它真的不好玩。 ”

于是他开始认真思考自给自足的选项,‘自给自足’是一种倡导自治、不与任何政府或市政基础设施连接的生活方式,无论是饮用水、污水或电力。英卓克笑着回忆说: “建筑企划案本身似乎有些疯狂,于是我想为何不全力以赴?”

Photo by Maja Pildid




英卓克最欣赏A型框架的地方在于如何有效建造和维护它。他笑着说: “当我跟你说跷跷板逻辑,无法用低廉价格建造并同时过一个具经济效益的生活…。好吧,某种程度我是坚持的,但我的住宅已近于达到这些目标了。如果科技更进一步发展,或许某天我必须吞下我说过的话。”

Photo by Maja Pildid Photo by Maja Pildid

根据英卓克的说法,大多数情况房市建立在华而不实的基础上、成本方面没有自治的选择。 “我花许多时间仔细思考各方面下自己想要的家,但多数现代化的房屋是为了赚取利润而建造的,我并不反对它,事实其实就是如此。对这类企划的开发商而言,时间的确是金钱,我可尊重这一点,但这最终意味着,建造为拥有的房屋最后会开始拥有你。”

英卓克指的是现代住宅的各种方面,它们极易受到外部的人为影响。“老实说,我主要指的是账单,例如: 我不用付电费、或水费。听起来挺像生存手册上的东西,但并如此。这是未来的生活方式,我对自己的开销完全掌握。”

对于英卓克来说,未来的住宅将会是两种类型之一: 与所有事物整合的家、及每个人与家庭都努力追求终极的自治。

英卓克坚信家应是庇护所。“如今,多数人的生活都是数码、每样东西都放在‘云端’,流浪者的生活方式挺受欢迎。虽然从人类学的角度来看,这对我们物种来说是巨大的变革,我们多数已习惯住在一个地方,并且至少每天要回到那个地方。 ”


英卓克说: “我认为每个人的居住空间是他私人空间的代表。无须过于深奥,我们希望在家里感到舒适与安全,但如果你经常变动那就不可能实现。未来不应该为了维持住居而长时间工作,那不是生活的样子。”

了解更多有关英卓克 库凯波的A型框架住屋请至官网

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