Architects: Marc Koehler Architects
Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Project Team: Marc Koehler, Miriam Tocino, Anna Szczurek, Maarten Verhelst
Project Area: 160 sqm
Project Year: 2011
Photographs: Marcel van der Burg
“House like village” is located in an old harbour cantina at the KNSM-island in Amsterdam, which was transformed into a residential building some years ago. Located on Levantplein square, and with totally glazed facades on both sides of the loft, it has great views over the water.
House like village
The way in which the (vast) space is divided, has the characteristics of a settlement; ‘a group of small houses inside the house’. Small streets emerge as multifunctional living spaces for the more spontaneous, footloose activities of playing, partying, washing and working. In contrast the house-like volumes contain less mobile activities such as the bedrooms and bathroom and storage. by compressing certain spaces (like bedroom) open spaces expand. The streets also carry daylight right into the heart of the house and provide great views outwards. The open space can be ‘colonized’ in the future, constructing extra volumes, when the family expands.
The clients, a young couple awaiting the birth of their first child, were exceptionally closely involved in the design process. Because of the chemistry between the clients and us, we were allowed to research and discuss the ways the clients lived in great depth.
To fully comprehend the clients behaviour and use of their livings pace they were each to describe a perfect day in their ideal house. Then we mapped their personal belongings and domestic rituals. This resulted in a spatial frame of ‘thick walls’ that double–functions as storage space and load bearing structure. The daily rituals of things like dressing up or ironing cloths are supported by closets and cupboards hidden in the walls. The open spaces (streets) temporary are occupied with these activities.
Double use of space
The upper level adds another layer of activities to the program. Here activities like dining, cooking and office work are located on ‘roof terraces’. They are more intimate and private compared to the large open living room. The rooftops maximize the functionality of the space, without comprising the sense of open space.