Villa 1

by Powerhouse Company
Villa 1 Powerhouse Company

Villa 1 was the first commission for Powerhouse Company, two months after its founding in May 2005. Set in a clearing in a large pine forest, the program of Villa 1 is oriented optimal towards the views on the terrain and the sun. Half of the program is pushed below ground to meet local zoning regulations. This creates a clear dichotomy in the spatial experience of the house – above ground a ‘glass box’ ground floor where all mass is concentrated in furniture elements and below ground a ‘medieval’ basement, where the spaces are carved out of the mass.
The site offers beautiful views on the forest and has a great sun exposure that we wanted to fully take advantage of. The typical Y shape of the plan is the result of the optimal configuration of the program on the ground floor towards sun and view. There are three wings: one wing for work, studying and music making (North exposure); one for cooking and eating (East-South-West exposure); and one for living and painting (South and North exposure). The central area where all wings meet is the heart of the house. It is a large space that serves as entrance hall, dining room, bar and music-room.
In the basement, the Y-shape creates a similar functional clarity: one wing is for the master bedroom, one for cars and one for storage and guest rooms. A patio provides light for the guest rooms.
A singular frame envelopes the house. The Y plan stretches the house into the site and provides large panoramic views on the surrounding scenery. On the South and East sides, two large covered decks create passive sun shading for the interior, while leaving the terrace in the sun.
Each wing is spatially organized in a centrifugal manner. All mass is concentrated in a central core: a piece of furniture that contains all services and structural elements and that simultaneously creates different rooms within the entirely glazed space. These large pieces of furniture create a free flowing distribution of functions without closing off rooms. It is thus possible to enjoy a pleasant stroll longer than 150 m through a variety of rooms immersed in the landscape.

The three furniture pieces on the ground floor are distinctively different in their design, materials, feel and smell. We used wood to the North, slate to the East and concrete to the South. In the North wing an American nut-wood furniture piece ‘swallows’ a staircase, cupboards, guest bed and a small bathroom. The curves of its outer shape create the entrance, a small and a large study and an acoustically sound piano-room. The kitchen is the second piece of furniture. It is entirely made of Norwegian slate and incorporates all kitchen appliances and storage, a toilet and a bar. It is as solid as a rock, yet gentle in its use – a sort of primordial sophistication. The third furniture piece consists of two concrete walls that incorporate a fire place, storage and video projector. This element opens up to create a patio bordered by a living room, garden room and atelier.

Counteracting the extreme openness of the ground floor, the basement level shelters the most intimate rooms of the house and takes on opposite spatial qualities, emphasized by the brutal and protective feeling of mass. Here, the scarcity of daylight is complemented by a richness in spatial effects. The rooms are carved out in the mass, creating vaulted ceilings and thick walls as a paradoxical result of the lightness of the vertical structure above ground. In the basement the heavy architecture retrieves the primordial qualities of Roman architecture.
The glass facade is suspended between window frames hidden in the ceiling and floor. There is no vertical structure, only silicone joints to hold the glass. There is one large in the glass facade: a huge green marble sliding wall (a sort of mobilized Mies wall) which opens the intimacy of the living room onto the terrace. Although made of marble, the sliding wall is very light as it is mounted on honeycomb aluminum plates (a Chinese invention called stone-veneer now produced in Texas, USA, with predominantly Middle East stones). The marble sliding wall wraps around a cross-shaped column clad with a black rubber skin: this is what we called the “Miessian Gimp” (a reference to the Gimp character from Pulp Fiction).

Structurally the house is a stack of different industrial building techniques. The basement is cast in concrete. The roof, with extreme cantilevers, is a complex steel structure designed by the audacious structural engineer Gilbert van der Lee. The bookshelf in the North wing is made entirely of solid steel plates and functions as a structural ‘Vierendeel’ frame stabilizing the structure of the roof.
As a result of its Y shape and architectural dichotomy, the villa provides a wide array of extreme spatial qualities, going from narrow, dark, vaulted corridors to wide-open, transparent garden rooms. The result is a landscape of different spatial perceptions that goes beyond the mere pragmatic diagram of functionality.This house is the result of an involuntary yet conscious choice to radically change a way of living. It is a house for the new life of a man and his new partner. A house that can provide him with a new place to live in, after losing his beloved one with whom he had lived thirty years in an old farmhouse bought in the seventies and which they had remodeled 8 times to fit their changing needs. This house had to be something radically new for him. It had to offer a new balance to a disturbed life. It had to provide a new anchor point. It is a house designed for a family to be re-rooted.

Photos by: Bas Princen

  • Villa 1 Powerhouse Company
  • Villa 1 Powerhouse Company
  • Villa 1 Powerhouse Company
  • Villa 1 Powerhouse Company
  • Villa 1 Powerhouse Company
  • Villa 1 Powerhouse Company
  • Villa 1 Powerhouse Company
  • Villa 1 Powerhouse Company
  • Villa 1 Powerhouse Company
  • Villa 1 Powerhouse Company
  • Villa 1 Powerhouse Company
  • Villa 1 Powerhouse Company
  • Villa 1 Powerhouse Company
  • Villa 1 Powerhouse Company
  • Villa 1 Powerhouse Company
  • Villa 1 Powerhouse Company
  • Villa 1 Powerhouse Company
  • Villa 1 Powerhouse Company
  • Villa 1 Powerhouse Company
  • Villa 1 Powerhouse Company
  • Villa 1 Powerhouse Company
  • Villa 1 Powerhouse Company
  • Villa 1 Powerhouse Company
  • Villa 1 Powerhouse Company
  • Villa 1 Powerhouse Company
  • Villa 1 Powerhouse Company
  • Villa 1 Powerhouse Company
  • Villa 1 Powerhouse Company
  • Villa 1 Powerhouse Company

Sponsor

Sponsor

  • Dalvey Road House

    Dalvey Road House

    Dalvey Road House is a private contemporary house designed by Guz Architects. Completed in 2012, this modern tropical bungalow is located in Singapore, and as with most of Guz Arch...

  • Woollahra House 11

    Woollahra House 11

    The opportunity to build a completely new house in the heart of a heritage conservation precinct on Sydney’s urban fringe, is a rare privilege. This 250 square metre (2,690 squar...

  • Blacksmiths Workshop

    Blacksmiths Workshop

    London-based designer Jason MacLean has converted an old 18th century cottage and blacksmiths workshop into a cosy and contemporary three bedroom family home. The house is located ...

  • House at the Edge of a Forest

    House at the Edge of a Fo..

    The house, situated on a beautiful lot at the edge of the forest, consists of two different volumes: an L-shaped base on which an oblong volume balances. Together they form a sculp...

  • Amsterdam Loft

    Amsterdam Loft

    UXUS designed a private residence located in a historic building on one of Amsterdam’s famous canals. The home is located in a 250m2 18th century warehouse with a panoramic view ...

  • Fun House

    Fun House

    The project for an apartment in Juan les Pins designed by Studio UdA developed by Andrea Marcante and Adelaide Testa tackles the issue of holiday homes. The small size of the apart...

  • Clean, Simple Lines

    Clean, Simple Lines

    Description of the House, its local & occupants


    Situated in the amazing location of Walsh Bay underneath the iconic Harbour Bridge this 80’s apartment block...

  • LEGO Wall project

    LEGO Wall project

    Hambourg-based agency Npire has designed this impressive LEGO wall divider in their office's kitchen. During over a year, from May 2010 to May 2011, the designers used over 55,000 ...

  • PPLB 0422, a Low Energy House in Town

    PPLB 0422, a Low Energy H..

    This single-family house with three facades and five bedrooms is the result of an optimization of areas and volume of living space according to the town-planning specifications in ...

  • Studio SC

    Studio SC

    The architectural project of this photography studio, specialized in food photos, emerged from an internal competition held at StudioMK27. The team was divided into 3 groups that w...

Mit der Nutzung unserer Webseite, stimmen Sie der Verwendung von Cookies zu. Mehr erfahren.