Hans Van Heeswijk designs his own property
The Rieteiland House, a private home for Hans Van Heeswijk himself, was designed on a plot of land that is part of a newly established island at IJburg on the outskirts of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The building is clad in perforated aluminium panels and the rear is entirely glazed so that residents can watch the sun set. Some of these panels are positioned behind windows and can be opened automatically to allow light to enter.
The waterfront façade, by contrast, is completely open and orientated to the view. On the second floor, part of the volume is omitted to create space for a screened roof terrace. Throughout the design there is a heavy use of what architects call 'timeless' materials such as glass, steel, concrete and wood.
The building plays on the contrast between transparency and enclosed space. The centre of the building contains a central core that rises the full three storeys of the house. The core contains storage closets, a toilet on every floor, cables and a dumbwaiter. Openings in the floor slabs create double height spaces in the large groundfloor dining area, a first-floor living area and second-floor master bedroom. Views become increasingly panoramic towards the top of the house and balustrades made of glass ensure unobstructed views from the balconies.
The house is designed to accommodate the family’s way of living and Van Heeswijk designed a system in order to make every day life easier. When changing clothes in the bathroom, they throw the laundry into a tube that carries it down two floors to the washing machine. Once washed and ironed, the clothes are carried back upwards on a small lift. Small interventions like this into the family home were the beginnings of how the architect aspired to design his own environment. Van Heeswijk went further and took the opportunity to design almost everything specifically for his home. From furniture, shelves, bathroom furniture, benches, cabinets, fireplace, long dining tables, a kitchen island with built-in dessert trolley to the door handles.