Integrated daylight

Monday 12 Apr 2010

Danish architect Paul de Ruiter always wanted to build a villa in what he considers one of the most attractive locations in the Netherlands, on the outskirts of Rhenen, in the Rhine water meadows. This would be a villa to which he could apply his own design philosophy: innovative design. His goal was not to be directed by what already exists, but to develop his own solutions that would make it possible to implement the ideal design. Therefore in 1994, as an architect at the start of his career, he took the unusual decision to take matters into his own hands and create his own working assignment. He took out an option on a plot of land, which was in use at that time for market gardening, and became the developer of this site himself. Not just one, but four villas were constructed on this site; all four of which reflect the character of their residents.

The senior couple Mr and Mrs Deys bought the first of the four building plots in the Schoutenboomgaardweg in Rhenen. This purchase included a sketch design for the villa by Paul de Ruiter. The main criterion for the design was the wishes of the customers. It also had to satisfy the stringent requirements imposed by Paul de Ruiter himself that the house must merge into the landscape and should preferably have a grass roof. The clients primarily wanted a practical home where they could go on living until an advanced age. And because both wanted to keep fit and love swimming, integrating a swimming pool into the design was an important wish. All the above is fulfilled in a villa that can be adapted over time to the age of the residents.The living functions of Villa Deys are placed around the swimming pool and spaciously blend into each other. The house is completely integrated into the landscape. If you look down from the Cunera hill just behind the house, all you see is the sedum roof, the front façades of gabions and the side façades, which are covered completely with slats. It strongly resembles the many farm outbuildings that can be seen in the area.

Ruiter divided the house into three strips. The southern strip contains the living room, kitchen and workroom, while the northern strip houses the bedrooms and the garage. The middle strip consists of the swimming pool with portals on each side, which act as entrance and as conservatory. The strips are offset in relation to each other, yielding the largest possible outer wall surface so that the admission of daylight is maximised.

Light is the key concept in the design of Villa Deys and it is not just the large outer wall surface that contributes to the maximized admission of daylight. The entire southern façade is made of glass. The roof of the swimming pool strip –which also incorporates several skylights - is lower-lying than the adjoining roof surfaces, and the difference in height is inset with glass, thus allowing plenty of light to enter the house. The swimming pool acts as a light well in the middle of the house and the light-coloured floor of synthetic material, white plastered walls and ceilings and the water and the glass walls of the swimming pool reflect the light optimally and ensure that it penetrates deep into the house.

Name Villa Deys, Rhenen
Address Schoutenboomgaardweg 1e, 3911 AG Rhenen
Client Mr and Mrs Deys
Developer Architectural office Paul de Ruiter bv
Gross floor area 344 m²
Volume 1.290 m³
Start design 1999
Start building January 2001
Completion May 2002

Key Facts:

Interior Residential

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