Thatching covers the walls as well as the roof at this house in Zoetermeer, the Netherlands, by Dutch architect Arjen Reas (+ slideshow).
Located on the edge of the city, the building was designed as a cross between a contemporary house and a traditional Dutch farmhouse. "We wanted to capture this rural and urban living in one design," Arjen Reas told Dezeen.
The thatched cladding begins just above ground level and wraps up over all four sides of the two-storey gabled structure, interrupted only by projecting canopies, windows and a chimney.
"We used the thatch like a warm hat and pulled it down over the edges," explained Reas. "The benefit of this is that the thatch becomes touchable. Also when looking through the windows, it surrounds you."
Tall narrow windows create vertical slices into the roof and walls on the two side elevations. Meanwhile, glazed doors fold open from the rear elevation to connect the living room with a terrace and garden.
"One of the priorities while designing this house was to provide the residents with a magnificent view of the scenic landscape," adds the architect.
A rectangular volume projects forward of the front elevation to create a two-storey-high sheltered porch, while a ramped driveway slopes down to meet a parking garage in the basement.
Storage areas are also located on the lowest floor, while living and dining rooms occupy the ground floor and the first floor contains four bedrooms and a bathroom beneath its sloping ceilings.
Thatched roofs have cropped on a few recent architecture projects in the Netherlands. Amsterdam studio Inbo has completed a town hall with thatching covering five curved blocks, while Rotterdam studio Maxwan has renovated and extended a thatched cottage.
Photography is by Kees Hageman.
Here's some more information from Arjen Reas:
This project is a private assignment for an entrepreneur from the city centre, and the question was posed, how could the family find peace on the edge of that same city. The site located where the city and open planes meet, and therefore has an obvious recognition that cannot be ignored.
In the earlier times people here used to work with shapes for houses that were pure and plain, thatch was used as a cover for the roofs and the walls where made out of stones and a clay plaster.
We were challenged to fuse together traditional ideals with a contemporary house design, a cubistic shape placed in a desolate landscape, where all urban feeling is gone when you look at the surroundings. Contemporary rural living was chosen as a project to mix the two in pure form.
Above: basement floor plan - click for larger image
New Dutch Design
When working with pure forms it's also important to look at simplicity, durability and expression. The mix of two very different but recognizable materials in the Dutch landscape results in a both a modern and traditional structure. The fine texture of the thatch in combination with the smooth white plaster surfaces a house is formed that is very modern and traditional at the same time. The compactness of the thatch gives optimal protection against the elements.
Above: ground floor plan - click for larger image
The interior successfully combines natural materials creating something unique. By designing a natural interior certain tranquility arises throughout each room and now there is also room left for the residents to restyle their space continuously.
Above: first floor plan - click for larger image
One of the priorities while designing this house was to provide the residents with a magnificent view of the scenic landscape. This was successfully done within each room in the house. Daylight falls deep into the house and lights up the space within and gives it a dynamic character during the day, while by night the house radiates its light to its surroundings and thereby marking its position in the landscape.
Above: section one - click for larger image
Via the slope residents can park their car in the basement, where there are also two extra storage rooms and an entrance to go up by stairs and enter the main living space with a beautiful open kitchen where all the modern comforts are integrated in. When walking through this open space towards the large transparent slide doors, you immediately get pulled to go into the garden. Here you can sit and relax or walk on the plateau to oversee the whole landscape.
Above: section two - click for larger image
The main entrance is surprisingly spacious and with its transparent separation with the kitchen a lot of light is coming in. Here you can enter the scullery, toilet, wardrobe or walk straight up the stairs to the second level. On this level you can go to the main bedroom, the second bathroom and three other bedrooms.
Above: west elevation - click for larger image
In the master bedroom the residents can choose to go and have a spacious shower or to go and take a bath before or after going to bed. When sitting in bath or lying in bed, you still have a great open view at the landscape.
Above: east elevation - click for larger image
Designer: Arjen Reas
Location: Zoetermeer, The Netherlands
Project area: 744 m2
Floor area: ca 360m2
Project year: 2009-2010
Construction: Adviesbureau Docter
Contractor: C.L. de Boer & Zn BV
Thatch: Voogt Rietdekkers