Villa 1 was the first commission for Powerhouse Company, two months after its founding in May 2005. The house is located within a large beautiful pine forest in the Netherlands, and its optimal orientation offers stunning views with maximum amount of sun exposure.
The Y shape of the house was developed to take advantage of the view and sun exposure. Therefore, the house was divided into three wings. The first wing, with North exposure was assigned to work, studying and music making. The second wing, designed for cooking and eating, was oriented towards South-West, while the living and painting areas were programmed in the third wing with South and North exposure.
The central area of the house, which acts as the meeting point for the three wings, is a large area that serves as an entrance hall, dining room, bar and music-room.
The basement of the house follows the same configuration system as the main floor, where each wing is designated a specific area. One wing houses the master bedroom, one the cars, while the last one contains the guest rooms and storage. A large patio provides light for the guest rooms.
Each wing is spatially organized in a centrifugal manner. All mass is concentrated in a central core: a piece of furniture that contains all services and structural elements and that simultaneously creates different rooms within the entirely glazed space.
The custom furniture on the main floor was designed taking into consideration their location in the house, as well as their function. The architects used wood as the main material to the North, slate to the East, and concrete to the South.
In the North wing an American nut-wood furniture piece ‘swallows’ a staircase, cupboards, guest bed and a small bathroom. The curves of its outer shape create the entrance, a small and a large study and an acoustically sound piano-room.
In the second wing, the kitchen is made entirely out of Norwegian slate and incorporates all appliances and storage. The slate was also used to define a bar area, and a washroom. The living room area houses a custom piece of furniture that consists of two concrete walls that incorporate the fireplace, storage area and video projector.
While the ground floor of the house uses a more open space concept, the basement includes the more private areas such as the bedrooms. Unlike the main floor, the basement is almost sheltered from daylight. The rooms are all carved out of the mass, creating vaulted ceilings and thick walls. The sculptural properties of the space, create a contrast against the light and airy structure above ground.
The continuous glass facade of the house is broken up by the large green marble sliding wall. The reference to Mies Van der Rohe is used to open up the living room area onto the terrace. Although it is made out of marble, the sliding wall was mounted on honeycomb aluminum plates to ensure its lightness.
The marble sliding wall wraps around a cross-shaped column clad with a black rubber skin: this is what we called the “Miessian Gimp” (a reference to the Gimp character from Pulp Fiction).
As a result of its Y shape and architectural dichotomy, the villa provides a wide array of extreme spatial qualities, going from narrow, dark, vaulted corridors to wide-open, transparent garden rooms. The result is a landscape of different spatial perceptions that goes beyond the mere pragmatic diagram of functionality.
© 2005 – 2008 POWERHOUSE COMPANY
Partner in charge: Nanne de Ru.
Team: Nanne de Ru, Charles Bessard, Alexander Sverdlov, Nolly Vos, Wouter Hermanns, Anne Luetkenhues, Bjørn Andreassen, Joe Matthiessen.
Interior design: Nanne de Ru, Charles Bessard, Anne Luetkenhues.
Structural Engineering: BREED ID, Gilbert van der Lee.
Contractor: Valleibouw BV Veenendaal.
Interior contractor: Smeulders IG.
Light advice: LS2 and Bert Roseboom, BEDA electro.
Location: The Netherlands
*All images and information courtesy of Powerhouse Company.