Villa Vijfhuizen

We were asked by Liesbeth van der Pol, then chief government architect, to present ourselves at a meeting of prospect buyers of 10 lots available in Vijfhuizen. These lots were placed in a setting designed by Liesbeth van der Pol, the chosen city planner for that particular area.

The plan was that different architects would design a series of very different single family houses at strategic locations within a bigger setting of developed modern townhouses.

As a result of the presentation we were chosen to design a house. The overall masterplan of this site stated the single family houses should be of vertical mass and look very different of what was already had been built around the lots. Even though the lots were rather stretched in length and would actually be better of with a more horizontal design.

Our design consisted of a staircase in glass connecting two vertical masses of natural stone. Since one of the elevations was going to be right at the border with the next lot we had to consider a massive wall without any daylight openings.

In Holland if you build adjacent to your neighbor you need to provide for privacy meaning you can’t design any windows within two meters from the yard line, at least nothing seriously transparent.

Although much of the design is related to the rather difficult situation the building envelop is stuck in, the house itself does not reflect any of those seaming hardships. Rather the opposite is the case, the house looks like it is freely sculpted in natural stone, lending privacy to the gardens and naturally gives space for daylight, entrances and parking.

Although modern, the design has a timeless quality that will most likely work now as it will a few decades later. The materials used are chosen to age gracefully and with a minimum of maintenance. The cedar wood is color stained. The chosen colors will fade over time by the force of the sun. In a few years the weathered colors add a certain patin as intended to combine with the natural stone. By then the fully developed gardens and some trees will make this house a modern example of a romantic place to live.


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