Didden Village / MVRDV


Architects: MVRDV
Project location: , Netherlands
Date: 2002-2006
Client: Didden Family
Program: 45 sqm extension private residence and 120 sqm terrace

Most topping up on rooftops is done for two reasons: a need for additional space and the desire to live or work high above the city rooftops, closer to heaven than to other people. Dutch architecture firm designed an extension for the Didden family on top of an existing monumental house and atelier. The attic storey of the house below is extended by a sky-blue parapet. Behind it two gables of the same colour can be seen. It creates a crown on top of the monument. The extension is an example of the growing trend to exploit the urban roofscape for new living and working spaces.



The bedrooms are positioned as separate houses, optimising the privacy of every member of the family (one for parents and two adjoining children’s rooms). The houses are accessed via a suspended spiral staircase from the loft-like living room. The two spiral stairs to the two children’s houses coil around each other to form a double helix stairs. The houses are placed on the large rectilinear roof surface in such a way that they form a small number of outdoor spaces (houses, squares, streets and lanes) that make up a rooftop village.








The ‘village’ is enclosed by a parapet with windows that offer views of the street. Trees, tables, open air showers and benches added, optimising the rooftop life. By finishing all the elements with a blue poly-urethane coating a new heaven appears.



Unlike many similar projects, the Didden Village does not simply offer its owners additional living and sleeping space. It actually functions like a real small village, with alleys and courtyards equipped with benches, tables and a pool. Shoulder high parapets create the necessary air of privacy.

“The addition can be seen as a prototype for a further densification of the old and existing city. It adds a roof life to the city.”

Cite: O'Grady, Elena. "Didden Village / MVRDV" 18 Feb 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 26 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=13370>
  • Benjamin

    i really like the idea behind, ‘adding roof life to the city’. Perfect solution to a space problem, and who wouldn’t want to live that high up in the city!

  • repoman

    Rooftop living is ok. Imagine the new skyline with more solutions like this. It would be like a Dutch tulip field. What is the material or finish on the surfaces? How does it work? Everything, floors, walls, roofs are the same seamless blue, even the parents on their new terrace.

  • Cynke

    I hate the color! I’d prefer grey or variations of red more coresponding to the brick.

  • http://www.bartvandenhoven.com Bart

    The color is just THE thing to like! or hate in your case. A new utopian livingspace on top of an existing city. Great project if you ask me, but already old since it was built three years ago.

  • Richie

    The vivid blue on every single outdoor surface is a bit surreal.. I’m not sure how long I could sit in that space without having to shut my eyes! I like the indoor spaces though, they seem to have got the most out of some tight areas.

  • PETE


  • erik

    a brave experiment but I dont like the colour. Mrvdv did this trick a couple of times before…. to me it looks like ‘småland’ in Ikea. using plywood as a finish for the interior… seen it before.i dont think blue works with the grey sky in the netherlands. maybe in greece. i wonder how this got passed the ‘welstandcommisie. maybe because Mrvdv was the architect?

    technicly: there is no door that stops the sound between the livingroom/childrensroom and the tiny bedrooms. with the dutch regulations (bouwbesluit) that is not allowed. (only if those rooms are on the same level. like a studio). so officialy those rooms cannot be used for sleeping. the small ladders don’t meet the regulations also (fire…).

    practicly: with the air polution in rotterdam the people who live there are going to have to clean the windows very often. even if selfcleaning glass is used. all the rain from the roofs, bouncing from the floors, is going to make the windows and walls dirty in a few years.

  • joaquin cabral

    this is my favorite project ever!

  • jiri

    Yes, great project. I have seen it already some time ago but now I have realised: that’s GREAT for children. I would like to grow there up – all the attic spaces, ropes for climbing etc.

  • hj

    It’s a great project that took MVRDV a really long time to realize due to client wishes but also regulations etc. So to comment erik^^, i’m sure everything is allowed, it is not a main living space it’s an addition. It changed shape a lot over the years I remember seeing some images being very extreme to a kind of stereotypical house shape that it became, it fits very well. And I don’t see the problem with colour it’s cheerfull. And what’s this BS about cleaning windows and dirty air? The finish, I think is epoxy is just great, you clean it with a high-pressure cleaner and all dirt goes down the drain. good job!

  • http://contemporaryartdaily.com Contemporary Art

    This was in the New York Times, absolutely stunning. I love the tree in the courtyard/hallway, and the independence of the children’s rooms seems ideal for a family. I’m ambivalent about the plywood roof as well, but the color is excellent and so are the shapes and arrangements of rooms. Great work.


  • esi ole’


  • deesee

    I think the idea of recreating a small ‘village’ on a rooftop is an interesting one. As far as the blue color, not my choice, but I don’t dislike it either way. Great project.

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  • erik

    hey i like the project. but maintenance/cleaning is not BS. people invented roofgutters many years ago. it’s a just a choice of the client.


  • Hamster

    jaja excellent aproach..

  • Hamster

    Thanks Elena

  • J

    The colour is a small reference to the ‘Beukelsblauw’ building from artist Florentijn Hofman which was situated close to this project (http://images.google.nl/images?hl=nl&q=beukelsblauw&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wi). It no longer exists.

    To answer Eric’s question about the welstandcommissie: the commission only saw the number of the colour during the design proces. They first saw how the colour was really like when the project was almost finished. Their reaction was: “Did we approve THIS???”. Too late.

    I like this project very much in every way.

  • mari

    really nice

  • cynke

    I don’t care about the reference. I care how does it look like. :P


  • harz

    A good example of what happens when you don´t know why you are cutting blue-foam.
    The interiour is interesting, but the exteriour is dumb. And dumb is not meant as a compliment!

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  • Olep

    What’s with the color hangup, people? It’s not what makes the project. It’s a great solution to many questions about urban living versus suburban living, and I for one would love to have an apartment/house like this.

  • Ceno

    Room at the ceiling? Isn’t it going to be really hot in the summer?

  • Daniel Z

    Makes me wonder, do the residents bought there clothes before or after the extension???? what´s the idea of such a big “yell” on this city? It has a nice use of the space (geometrically speaking) but there´s no need for ego comments like “closer to heaven then to other people”. This project is a visual obstacle to enjoy the big picture of this city.

  • Pykolandia

    o my … I like the space on the roof,and – I love children’s windows :D. But I can’t stand that OMNIPOTENT blue. Its’ too TOTALITARY.

  • juno

    now that they think they can do whatever they want..and nobody will tell them this is ugly..

  • http://architekturblog.wordpress.com/ evap

    10 years before there was the idea of a teletubby-landscape on this roof :D
    great photos!

  • john nielsen

    Id like to see current pictures of this project, with damage from rainwater and dirt and moist ruining the materials. Its completely absurd that someone allowed something like this to be built.
    Apart from the newbie approach to building physics, it seems out of scale and proportion in relation to the building its placed on top of, maybe its already been demolished?

    • mars

      The blue material is the same as used for swimming pool liner coatings. It rains ALOT in R-dam. Think of it as an inverted pool (i.e. water-tight)

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