This is one of our projects we developed ourselves as architects. We had previously proposed a new design of low cost sustainable houses and were looking to find a proper location. As a result the city of Rotterdam led us to this site. Since the land price at this specific location was far from low cost we had to rethink our design strategy.The chosen vacant site was located in a previously agricultural setting developed into a large residential area of a more modern fashion. After initial studies we did not want to add more cubism or typical modern variations of what had already been done there recently.
We wanted to give back a little of what once had been the attraction of this landscape in a way that would still amaze and stand for our love of modern and spacious architecture. A more or less vernacular style looked to be the right direction. We decided to add enlarged style cliches, just to provoke a little thought about the design and how it fits in a residential street. We rotated the floor plans in relation to the street plan slightly, we added big sliding doors and used the most basic shapes of all, the saddle roof and completed the design with a turret on one of the houses. With these eyecathers the design was more or less finished. The wooden cladding and basic window composition were chosen to be submissive to the overall image of these houses. The interior was designed to be overwhelmingly modern, spacious and light. That is exactly how the result has become while still making you feel right at home once entering the main living space. Much of the interior furniture is designed and manufactured by Piet Hein Eek, well know for his typical use of vernacular and industrial materials. His furniture fits in perfectly and does a wonderful job of showing what we intended with these houses. We generally avoid eclectic or historical styles mostly because they do no longer respond to modern times culturally and technically. But as designers we feel free to use any style we see fit instead of sticking to a certain pre chosen style. Our fashion or style of work can be looked at in therms of warmth and texture and the use of natural materials and colors. Our style would work as well in architecture that might be described as cutting edge modern or this outright old fashioned project that should not be taken at face value. The project itself in mostly natural materials is actually as sustainable as it could be. The houses have an extremely low energy consumption for its size and shape due to the high insulation values of its high-tech walls and roof panels, the use of double heat exchange units and low temperature radiant floors. Last but not least, the buyers themselves played a crucial role. They have chosen to enhance the houses with gardens, lighting and furniture in way that does justice to the overall design.