Architects: Personal Architecture
Location: The Hague, the Netherlands
Area: 225.0 sqm
Project Year: 2012
Photographs: René de Wit
From the architect. The dilapidated state has necessitated a thorough reinforcement of the foundation and load-bearing structure of the entire house, opening up extraordinary possibilities in an otherwise commonplace apartment renovation.
The combination of ambitious design visions and a large measure of trust from the client have resulted in a rigorous and uncompromising redesign, in which voids and split levels accentuate the full height of Den Haag's typical row houses.
The potential of the brick structure, the details such as glass-in-lead frames, and the characteristic “en-suite” room divisions were the deciding factors in purchasing the house, according to the clients. The tension between antique features and modern techniques is very evident in the redesign plan. The classical street façade is restored to its former glory, from ground to third floor.
Behind the doors of the “en-suite“ element, a complete change is taking place. The rear façade is removed and clad with glass to a full height of 11 meters. The floor levels are detached from the façade, creating a void that spans three levels and generating an optimal source of daylight.
In the back of the house, the load-bearing wall between the corridor and the living room is replaced with a steel construction. Four new floors with a net height of 2,4 meters protrude from this construction. These floors remain openly linked to the existing floor levels. The interplay of voids, the split-levels and the glass façade, all create a spectacular drama between interior and exterior on the one hand, and between the existing and new floors on the other.
The intervention in the back of the house can be interpreted as a three-dimensional, L-shaped element of five storeys, accessed by a new steel spiral staircase. The staircase brings a new dynamic between the different parts of the house and makes a separation between owners and guests possible. Vertically, the L-shaped element ends in a roof-terrace with jacuzzi and outer kitchen that lies far above the balconies of the lower floors.
This rigorous redesign project has reorganized the total accessible surface of the house towards an excess of floor space, generating more rooms and more daylight. To the owner, the residence promises an extraordinary living experience. To passers-by, it cannot be distinguished from any other house on the van Merlenstraat.