- Design Team: Niels Olivier, Robin-Jay King
- Cladding Ruukki: SDS Ommen
- Cladding Accoya Siding: Gebr Bos BV
- City: Arnhem
- Country: The Netherlands
Text description provided by the architects. In the woods just north of the city of Arnhem a new neighborhood is being developed under the name 'Buitenplaats Koningsweg'. This former military site will be transformed into a cultural enclave. The complex is known as 'De Scharnier', or in English 'The Hinge', is situated at the heart of the enclave. These interconnected buildings, erected at right angles to one another, used to accommodate the military theater in one 'leg' and the restaurant in the other, but have now become the home, workshop, and studio of a well-known artist.
Most buildings on the military site date back to the 1960s and 70s and are in a bad state, but for reasons of sustainability, it was decided to reuse and repurpose the buildings as much as possible. When it comes to The Hinge, were forced to renew the facade or the roof we chose contrasting materials like steel and timber. All exterior walls are now insulated in compliance with Dutch building regulations. The colors used in the transformation, different tones of gray, were prescribed by the main urban plan, but also the use of industrial, bold materials. This also meant that all the original brickwork had to be painted gray. The whole complex is heated by means of an energy-saving pellet installation. With solar panels on the roof of the House, it will ultimately be ‘almost energy neutral’. The swimming pool is unheated, being purified by natural filters such as plants and gravel.
In its original state, the southern 'leg' of the building was strikingly unsuitable to house a family. The building comprised a block of toilet rooms, a restaurant kitchen with a bar, and a dining area, spread over two floors. Therefore, we introduced two major interventions. Firstly we designed a void in the center of the building, linking the living room on the first floor to the garden by means of staircases. This void also divides up the former large restaurant area on the first floor into two well-defined spaces: the family kitchen and the living room. The bedrooms and bathrooms are situated on the ground floor on either side of the void. Secondly, we added an extension at the head of the House, which provides the first floor with a dining room and a balcony. The roof is supported by beautiful wooden trusses. These were cleared of several layers of paint and were treated with a transparent coating to bring out the warm color of the wood.
The facades of the House were partly renewed. The north side looks out on the quiet, enclosed private garden. Slim aluminum window framing was placed within the original structure. Plenty of daylight comes in without the problem of overheating in Summer. On this side the charm of the original sixties architecture is evident. The south side of the building, looking out on a public road and a small restaurant, is much more closed, so as to guarantee privacy. The decayed original facade and the roof were replaced by contemporary well-insulated versions consisting of wood and steel. A quirky composition of large square windows and elongated horizontal ones symbolizes the transformation. The windows are equipped with electrically operated folding panels, perforated to filter the sunlight and designed to prevent people from looking in. The main entrance hall is a divergent mass that links up the House with the office and workshop. Facing southwards, the large windows as well as the front door are covered with horizontal louvres in a vertical framework made of thermally preserved Accoya wood.