Together apart

Tuesday 05 May 2009

House designed for individual client needs

A site with a south facing view to a canal on the Grote Rietlandof IJburg provided a unique opportunity for a family to live ina free-standing villa within 20 minutes of central Amsterdam.The family of four, a score composer and a business scenario writer with 2 teenage children required a housethat provided opportunities to live both together and independently.

The section of the house clearly describes theprogramme with children on the lowered level, parents on theupper, and the ground floor acting as the communal, familyand social area (and also bufferzone).

Similar to a typical Amsterdam canal house the ground floor israised increasing privacy from the street. The raised groundfloor allows clear views to the canal at the rear and accommodatesthe basement below. This visual connection to the canalis maintained at all times - through the open stairs to the upperlevel and the absence of any doors dividing the ground floorarea. The smaller living area of the ground floor steps down tothe kitchen/dining area opening both horizontally and verticallyin scale. The lower space opens to the outside terrace continuingthe procession to the garden and canal.

The children's lower level (complete with kitchenette andbathroom) is accessed from the street via external stairs andbecomes an independent zone from the main house. Thedividing wall between the bedrooms is non load-bearing andin the eventuality of the children leaving the family home thebasement could be used and rented as a separate studioapartment.

In the upper level the parents functions of study, bathingand sleeping are ordered from street to canal side. Fromthe bathroom views across the canal are possible, and thebedroom and bathroom unite as one space with a continousfloor surface.

The house is transparent from the street to the canal with themain front and back facades of full height glazing. All wallsperpendicular to the street are solid timber clad surfaces. Aclear demarcation of the houseā€˜s internal levels are revealedin the facade with white bands. Horizontally laid western redcedar boards further striate the volume. The entrance facadeconsists of a large full height glass door and an art pieceby Amsterdam artist Yvonne Kroese. The lasercut steel panelfeatures creatures found on and around IJburg and houses theletter box and other entrance hardware.

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