There is no greater compliment than a returning client. Some years back, we were commissioned to design a loft with a club-like atmosphere in the city centre of Eindhoven; fast forward to today, and the family has purchased a plot of land on the edge of Eindhoven to build a freestanding house. Their future home will face both the former industrial area and the forest that surrounds it. Being the proud owners of a garden at last, our clients’ wish was to experience nature from the entire house.
Our starting point, therefore, was not to design a house with a garden but to conceive a living landscape that intertwines the home and the landscape. We set ourselves the challenge to design beyond maximising transparency – instead we treated all functions with equal importance, regardless of their location indoors or outdoors. Every function has its own volume, organised on the plot like pieces on a chessboard and contained between two floating concrete slabs. The result is a pavilion-like house that unfolds across the garden and a smaller pavilion on top that accommodates the girls’ spaces at tree-level.
Seamlessly merging indoor and outdoor daily life.
The living functions and outdoor areas are both equally important, fluidly interwoven throughout the house. Every function has its own volume – open or enclosed, covered or exposed – and its own atmosphere and material. These ‘boxes’ are randomly connected, creating a patchwork of relationships between the building and the landscape, private and public, and inside and outside.
Is it an outdoor room or an indoor landscape?
The shared family areas and the parents’ spaces are located on the ground floor; their daughters’ rooms are housed in a ‘watchtower’ with more privacy and facilities to adapt the space for future independent living.
Some ground floor volumes are left open to form an outdoor room, some are boxes with glass facades containing living spaces, while others are enclosed to create privacy. One box could be either a garden or a glasshouse; the fireplace in another could be in an indoor or outdoor context.
The varying types of openings in the roof also help distinguishing the different functions. Open volumes flood the interiors with sun- and daylight while the covered boxes create an intimate atmosphere.
Colour and texture are used to enhance the sense of a continuous living landscape.
The pavilion-like house is composed of two horizontal slabs supported only by a handful of thin columns. A thicker tree-shaped column composed of steel profiles marks the entrance.
The kids’ space protrudes vertically through the roof and forms a watchtower overlooking the forest. The entrance is situated at the intersection of these two volumes, connecting these parts of the house visually and functionally.
Materials are used in an unconventional way to merge the boundaries between inside and outside. Curtains extend to outdoor spaces, cobblestone pavements continue inside and ceramic tiles clad the facades. Wrapped in polished aluminium, the top volume subtly mirrors the green surroundings, creating an almost camouflaged surface that reflects the changing seasons and weather.