Location: Leiden, The Netherlands
Team: Esther Stevelink and Arie Bergsma
Project Year: 2010
Contractor: Verbeij Bouw, Boskoop
Structural Engineering: IMD, Rotterdam
Photographs: Marcel van der Burg
V- HOUSE is a white stucco abstract looking house of which the V-shaped roof is its most striking feature. The roof is constructed of wood and is modeled after a common saddle roof, the only difference being that the top is turned downwards, resulting in a dip at the centre of the house.The roof is an important constituent of the architecture. From the outside, the V-shaped roof gives the house its distinguishing appearance and from the inside, it vitalizes and intensifies the interior space.
The house covers a practically square area and consists of two floors. On the outside there is no clear distinction between the floors; the façade is composed as an unambiguous whole with a cluster of windows in the middle. From the inside though, each floor has a typical program and spatial lay-out.
The top floor accommodates the living, dining and kitchen area. This area is one open space, with a varying height of 2.8 meters at the centre to 4.1 meters at the edges. At the front corner of the floor a large void is situated. This vacant space not only links the upper floor to the ground floor, it also creates an L-shaped floor plan. The freestanding bearing wall at the inner corner of the “L“, together with the dip in the roof, divides the space in two: the kitchen and void on the left side and the living and dining area on the right. In this way the kitchen area is subtle separated from the sitting area.
The interior and outward vistas, resulting from a well thought-out positioning of openings (windows, roof lights, void, and openings between the bearing wall and façade), evoke a sense of openness and spaciousness. In addition to this the use of natural materials like stone and wood contributes to an informal and friendly atmosphere.
The ground floor accommodates different functions which are zoned in adjacent strips parallel to the partition walls. The strip in the middle accommodates the stairway, the corridor, and also the entrance hall, where a view is presented to the garden, the street, the void and the roof. Through the corridor the two other strips are opened up: at the right side a strip designated for private rooms like bedrooms and bathroom and on the left side a more than three meter wide strip accommodating a large polyvalent space. Because of the void overlapping this space, there is a strong visual relation with the kitchen and sitting area on the top floor.
Furthermore, the large window situated at the top of the front façade and the casement doors at the back façade provide a view of the sky and the closed garden respectively. These interior and outward vistas in combination with the natural light coming in from above (roof lights, top window) make the space intriguing, poetic and serene.