by Jerry ElengicalOct 11, 2022
Break the rules with your art, they tell us. New paths, adventures and creations come from those who didn't conform. It’s true; it takes a special talent to see beauty others can’t and craft it into being. It’s the Picassos of the world who make a mark. But what do you do when you have no other choice but to conform? How do you create something spectacular within the boundaries? That takes a special talent too.
It’s a talent we see in spades with the waterfront Villa K2 located in the picturesque Dutch village of Eelderwolde. The one-level home was designed by Francois Verhoeven Architects, an architectural studio based in The Hague in the Netherlands. The sustainable architecture of the dwelling was conceived as a contemporary interpretation of the surrounding gabled roof bungalows.
"The landscaping and building code mandated an architecture with sloped roofs and natural colours in either black or brown,” says Dutch architect Francois Verhoeven. "At first it felt a bit restricted to design within these limitations. But looking at the wider area where this house is built, the strictly controlled landscaping and city planning worked out very well. Even though K2 is minimalistic and designed as a bungalow of one story, it does fit in well between the more conventional multi-story houses that surround it," adds Verhoeven.
Sustainable and Purposeful Design
Built for a family of five, the one story detached villa design features an angular roof. The multi-pitched residential design has three slanting sections forming a ridge and valley section. Located right on the edge of the waterway, the house has been oriented to open up to the south. The open-plan living area makes the most of the view with large expanses of floor-to-ceiling glass windows. The north façade is more closed off for privacy. "The south facade has an overhang to prevent the sun heating up the house in the summer while letting the sun in freely in the winter," the architect explains.
This purposeful design augmented by discreet solar panels and a geothermal heat pump makes sure the energy consumption is almost none. "The entrance of the house is shaped by a large column-free overhang where a car can be parked; ideal in the Dutch climate with lots of rain and wind. In the winter, there is no need to scrape the frost off car windows when parked underneath the overhang…getting in and out the car is more comfortable this way even compared to a garage,” continues Verhoeven.
From here, the main entrance opens up into a large hallway that branches off into two bedrooms at the front of the house and flows towards the open-plan living area at the rear of the house. “The house has a large hall considering the usual Dutch hallways. This is an important feature...It's the hall where you change coats and put your shoes on every day. Its where you receive your guests. It's the first space of your house that connects to all others. It should be a whole lot more than just functional,” says Verhoeven.
Designed to Express
The material palette has been carefully chosen to transform over time. Partially clad in timber, the roof features skylights, discreet solar panels and vegetation. The exterior façade of the house is also wrapped in wood slats set vertically. While the solar panels sit in the section of the slope that is concealed from view, the vegetation is on the slope that is visible. Over the years, the vegetation will take on a life of its own, elevating the exteriors with colour and an organic element. Within the home, the frameless skylights flood the interiors with natural light, adding to the minimal and delicate design language.
"The materials of this house are mostly wood, concrete and aluminium that has been anodised in a warmer tint. The aluminium and slender window frames combined with sawn timbers for the siding are left untreated. Materials are to be seen as they are in their process of weathering. The house requires little maintenance while getting its final look and feel over the course of the next few years. The vegetation will get higher and more colourful, the wood facing the sun, more grey. The aluminium and concrete terraces will hardly change at all making sure the house will keep its modern and fresh look,” mentions Verhoeven.
Minimalist Details for Maximum Effect
Throughout the project, the architects paid careful attention to designing details that don’t distract from the spatial quality and character of the house. With the solar panels being such an important feature, their design and placement was purposefully crafted to be discreet. “…the roof is designed to have three sloped areas of which the one out of sight has all the solar panels. The roof area facing south and in sight is covered with vegetation and wood siding. This is an important architectural statement. Solar panels are here to stay and a good clean source of energy but we do not need to live with their dominant and slick appearance. Where possible solar panels can do their work out of sight,” adds Verhoeven.
It's because of the wood that will weather with time and vegetation that will grow and take on different colours that the villa architecture has a more natural look than many of the houses around it, especially those that have solar panels dominating the aesthetics. “The house has minimalist details, free of gutters and roof edges. The window frames are integrated in the walls and behind the siding. It seems looking through the roof lights as if the walls extend in to the sky without any frame between wall stucco and glass. These details are important…It isn’t always easy to build like this but once all is done, most see it was worth it,” the architect concludes.