Wooden Lofthouse I in Amsterdam features zigzag stair and split levels
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Lofthouse I by Marc Koehler Architects

Prefabricated house in Amsterdam features wooden walls, zigzagging stairs and split levels

Inside this wooden, prefabricated house in Amsterdam by Marc Koehler Architects, an angular black staircase crisscrosses between split levels.

Lofthouse I by Marc Koehler Architects

Lofthouse I is located at the end of a terrace in Houthaven quay –Amsterdam's port. Large expanses of glazing set into the prefabricated wooden structure offer residents views of the water.

Untreated pine clads the exterior of the residence, except for the ground floor, which is painted black.

Lofthouse I by Marc Koehler Architects

It is it the first wooden version of Amsterdam-based Marc Koehler Architects' Superlofts – a series of customisable prefabricated houses.

The owners of Lofthouse I wanted to have a seamless connection between the different levels in the three-storey house. Each floor inside is half a level higher or lower in relation to the previous or the next, giving the residents views between each space.

Lofthouse I by Marc Koehler Architects

The staircase zigzags up through a large void in the centre of the house to connect these different platforms. This atrium is topped by a skylight, which brings ample natural light down into the interiors.

"The wooden structure serves as a framework in which floors can be installed in any position, giving the entire house a flexible layout," said the architects.

Lofthouse I by Marc Koehler Architects

"The owners' wish was to connect the areas on the upper floors with the lower floors in one, continuous flow," they continued. "A solution was found by incorporating a staircase that serves as an atrium and has become a central design element."

To prioritise views to the harbour, the interiors are arranged in an an upside-down layout, with the sleeping areas below the living spaces.

Lofthouse I by Marc Koehler Architects

The lounge occupies the top floor, with access to a covered terrace, while the kitchen and dining room are on the level below. Bedrooms are located on the first floor and the ground floor is occupied by a workspace, storage room and a small bathroom.

"The house is based on a reversed principle: its owners decided to sleep downstairs and live upstairs," said the studio. "This allows them to fully enjoy the views of the harbour from the kitchen, the lounge and the dining room."

Lofthouse I by Marc Koehler Architects

To ensure privacy, the bedrooms are closed off from the central walkway by wooden walls. These feature small square windows, giving the rooms the appearance of small individual houses within the main residence.

"The bedrooms are designed like small houses within a house, and are experienced as such," said the architects. "They were also given windows on the staircase side, resulting in some surprising sightlines."

Lofthouse I by Marc Koehler Architects

The prefabricated elements were constructed in a workshop over two weeks, before being transported to site where assembly took just four days. Marc Koehler Architects aims to build 134 versions of prefab houses across six locations in the Netherlands.

Lofthouse I was also created as a energy efficient prototype of the scheme. Energy-saving measures include roof-mounted solar panels, a CO2-controlled ventilation system, mechanical extraction, underfloor heating and a collective heat grid.

Marc Koehler Architects is one of several studios investigating contemporary prefabricated homes. Other examples include MIMA House in Portugal and Cocoon9 in the USA.

Photography is by Filip Dujardin.


Project credits:

Project architects: Marc Koehler and Chun Hin Leung
Project team: Hugo Vermeer, Carlota Alvarado, Mariana Rebelo Fernandes and Marijn Luijmes
Builder: JS Siemensma BV
Consultant: Breed Integrated Design
Timber cladding: NobelWood

More images and plans

Lofthouse I by Marc Koehler Architects
Site plan
Lofthouse I by Marc Koehler Architects
Lofthouse I by Marc Koehler Architects
First floor plan
Lofthouse I by Marc Koehler Architects
Second floor plan
Lofthouse I by Marc Koehler Architects
Third floor plan
Lofthouse I by Marc Koehler Architects
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