Text description provided by the architects. VANDERSALM-aim designed two residences and a studio on ‘t Rozendael - ‘t Nijenhuis estate. In the context of the ‘Red for Red’ scheme, the barns/stables of the existing farm on the site were demolished to make way for two new residential objectives. The new arrangement now constitutes a modern farmyard, together with the volume of the existing farm. The positioning of the dwellings suggests the privacy of a farmyard, yet provides specific views of the open pastoral landscape as well. The clients are friends with young adult children. The most important point of departure for the organizational structure of both houses is ‘living with the landscape’.
The existing farm is a duplex (front house/rear house), but due to the chosen situation of the new volumes, relevant sight lines remain intact and private areas are created without a view of the neighbors. Continuous garden walls serve to encompass the dwellings in the ascending essenstructuur (series of ground levels originated through time - a typical Dutch landscape). This walled area, therefore, becomes readable as an ‘outdoor room’ and is visually part of the interior space. The garden walls continue through the plinths of the buildings, an upwards extension of the same stones as the pavement. These are glued, not mortar, so that the texture of the paving becomes a ‘stone carpet’ and thus comprises a solid base for the residences.
The project reflects an interpretation of local barn typologies in a contemporary manifestation. The farmyard appears modest and private due to the dark color scheme and wooden slats. On the other facades, high framed openings offer an unlimited view of the landscape. The houses are constructed with a custom-made wooden loadbearing structure without visible joining elements. Aside from its bearing function, the structure acquires the character of a furniture element. It remains visible throughout and refers to the shed; clear, pragmatic, and sober, but nonetheless finely detailed. In the absence of solutions based on complexity or appearance, the design decisions are solely grounded in materiality, tectonics, and the landscape.
The residences are virtually energy neutral; they are very well-insulated, gas-free, and equipped with an air source heat pump. Each house has roughly 40 photovoltaic (PV) panels which are incorporated in a separate sunken field situated at the edge of the plot. Electric cars can be charged in the parking area, and there is no parking on the farmyard terrain. Both residences have a spacious indoor veranda on the south side, which provides a natural heat buffer during the summer and protection for the greater part of the year.
The ground floor is equipped with low-temperature heating and has a high efficiency due to the monolithic concrete flooring. The building materials are of top quality and comprised primarily of wood. VANDERSALM-aim is an office driven by architectural mastery. The architect as master builder approaches his field from a maker’s standpoint and focuses on affection (love for the built environment and the landscape), well-being (groundedness), and the built object as a matter of course (tectonics).