Architect: Paul de Ruiter
Location: Rhenen, Netherlands
Project Architects: Paul de Ruiter & Rob Hootsmans
Project Team: Sander van Veen, Willeke Smit, Monique Verhoef
Constructed Area: 491 sqm
Project Year: 2004
Photographs: Pieter Kers
The starting concept of the design of Villa Room was to allow the daily activities of the residents to form the main structure of the building. One of the owners, an artist, wanted a studio, a view of the garden and an exhibition space. Her partner, a man with a passion for energy and technology, wanted a house that could be controlled, in relation to both the indoor climate and the degree of privacy. The result is a villa which, although providing space to sleep, eat, and live, does not have a traditional living room.
The villa is arranged around an open space with a roof through which light can enter. The northern light that falls in the centre of the house through the roof and the glass wall of the patio is ideal for the activities in the studio on the ground floor. The ground floor has a primarily ‘public’ function, such as the reception of guests, exhibitions and chamber concerts, and has a large, inviting kitchen/dining space. The living room is more secluded and is located in a relatively small corner, adjacent to the terrace.
The rooms on the upper floor are all related to the open heart of the building in some way. They are separated to provide maximum privacy, and are oriented on the surroundings or provide a direct view of the open centre. Together with the patio, they form an entity in which living and working merge into one another. On the water meadow side is a room from which the house can be controlled. The conditions outside, the temperature, the wind and the light are measured and the indoor climate is controlled in accordance with these so that the desired climate is obtained while keeping energy consumption to a minimum. To foster energy saving and comfort, solar boilers are integrated into the green roof, PV cells are located on the sloping parts of the open roof and use is made of a nocturnal cooling system. In addition, the villa is fitted with domotic systems such as the electrically operated aluminium sun blinds that keep out sunlight and ensure privacy.
Unlike the light interior, the façades have a heavy and robust character: dark bricks with orthogonal mortar patterns, heavy galvanized beams and glass that forms abstract, transparent planes as a result of the concealed frames. The balcony on the southern façade, the loggia with a view of the Cunera tower and the terrace and garden all contribute to make this villa a pleasant place with plenty of privacy, while at the same time the open and closed sections in the façade provide a wide variety of views of the surrounding landscape.