Text description provided by the architects. Dutch studio Engel Architecten has recently completed this private residence in the wooded surroundings of Zeist, a small town in the centre of the Netherlands. To save as many trees as possible the layout of the house is carefully configured on the site. The colour and texture of the materials have been chosen meticulously to match the surrounding pines.
Design. Adjacent to the Utrechtse Heuvelrug you will find the residential area Kerckebosch in Zeist. The house is situated on a corner lot, along the edge of the Hoge Dennen sub-plan. The sub-plan is characterized by the wooded environment that Zeist is known for, and is adjacent to a newly created open moorland landscape.
The visual quality plan prescribes homes with a modern look and a steep roof. To optimally position the house on the plot, the trees on the plot have been mapped. The goal was to maintain as many trees as possible and integrate them into the design. In order to maximize the view towards the garden and to create the largest possible backyard, the volume is situated along the main road, aligned to the building line.
The program is divided into four volumes, which are strung together by an elongated horizontal canopy. The two highest volumes accommodate the main functions of the house and are separated by a continuous skylight spanning two floors. This allows daylight to penetrate deep into the home, without direct sunlight entering the house. On the first floor, the two volumes are connected by a walkway, which is completely enclosed by the skylight. The awning connects the four volumes and provides sufficient space for covered parking, as well as space at the entrance and a covered terrace. In addition, the awnings ensure that sunlight does not directly enter the house during the summer and the house remains cool, in contrast to the winter months where the opposite is desired.
The front and rear facades of the two highest volumes as well as the garage are set at an angle of 6º. The regulations that came with the lot required the house to have a sloped roof, whereas the clients' wish was to design a modern house with a flat roof. By tilting the facades, the facades can also be read as a roof.
Openings are placed in such a way that the relationship with the outside is strengthened and privacy is guaranteed. Deep placed window frames accentuate the facade openings on the upper floors. Deep reveals frame the view of the green surroundings, whilst at the same time provide a sense of privacy by optically increasing the distance between the inside and outside. The amount of glass on the north façade has been kept limited to prevent heat loss. At the rear of the houses, two large sliding doors offer the opportunity to open the facade to a large extent and thus connect the outside terraces the living area and dining room. The generation of power is provided by solar panels placed on the roof of the house. By carefully designing the roof edges and keeping them slightly lower at the rear, the solar panels are hidden from view without affecting the incidence of light on the solar panels.
Materials. The 3 oblique volumes are covered with ceramic slates from Petersen Tegl, type C91. The ceramic covers from which the majority of the facades have been built, perfectly match the wooded surroundings in terms of color and texture. By using a light color scheme, the surrounding trees draw beautiful shadows on the facades when the sun falls on the house. The wood storage and the garden walls are constructed from long-shaped Kolumba bricks from Petersen Tegl in the same color tone as the covers, to emphasize the monolithic character of the house. The two low garden walls accentuate the routing to the main entrance and create intimacy at the terrace on the southwest side of the house. The elongated awning, the frames, and the wooden finish of the plinth are fitted with semi-transparent lacquered wood in a red-brown color to counterbalance the sleek, distinct character of the house. The applied colors of both the covers and the wood match the wooded area where the house is situated.