House WVV / UR architects
Text description provided by the architects. The site for this semi-detached house is part of a minor, recent subdivision on the edge of town, filling in a final opening in the ribbon development. It sits on a sand ridge where a windmill once used to stand. Today, the typical rural landscape of the region remains visible in fragments scattered among the urban sprawl: a historic farmstead, old footpaths like the one opposite the plot, and an accidental vista over the fields.
The gentle slope allowed me to deviate from the standard two-story plus roof with a garage in the back, and to imagine a compact split-level house with an integrated carport. The compactness of the outer volume contrasts with the internal spaciousness. The walls, both outside and inside, are uniformly built in exposed concrete masonry, forming a solid shell.
The windows, in contrast, are in polished aluminum with color accents referring to the color scheme of nearby old farmhouses. In the interior, these materials are complemented with various elements in wood: the staggered wooden beam floors connected by a straight rubberwood staircase in the middle of the house, kitchen furniture, and some light walls in pinewood panels.
This house for a photographer and his family responds to the chaotic surroundings by establishing precise visual relationships with the obstructed landscape. On the exterior, cutouts, and perforations of varying sizes break the massiveness of the volume. Folding around the corners they connect the elevations like hinges, while carefully framing images of the surroundings and the countryside beyond.
This theme of hide and seek continues in the interior, where the alternating floors and staircase walls with varying openings create surprising relationships between spaces. As a result, the living spaces smoothly flow into one another, and in the evening guide the sunlight from the street through the house to the garden-side dining area. The double-height living room, a distant reminder of a windmill’s hold, becomes the house’s natural epicenter.