In the north of Amsterdam, Dutch architecture studio Marc Koehler Architects has recently completed the House like village project, a private house for a young couple. Located in the city's KNSM island, the house is part of an old harbour cantina which was
transformed into a residential building some years ago. With totally glazed façades on both sides of the loft, the building has sweeping views over the water.
The building's vast space is divided in a settlement-like manner, emulating a group of small houses inside the main dwelling. Thus, small "streets" emerge as multifunctional living spaces for activities such as playing, partying, washing and working. In contrast, a series of "house-like" volumes contain less mobile spaces, such as bedrooms, bathroom, and storage. Compressing spaces such as the bedroom, the architects achieve a series of open spaces that expand. The "streets" carry daylight right into the heart of the house, and allow for views outwards. According to the architects, the open spaces can be "colonized" in the future, constructing extra volumes, when the family expands.
The clients were exceptionally closely involved in the design process; the excellent relationship between architects and clients allowed for comprehensive research and understanding of how the clients behave and use their daily spaces.
"To fully comprehend the clients behaviour and use of their living space they were each to describe a perfect day in their ideal house," state Marc Koehler Architects. "Then we mapped their personal belongings and domestic rituals." The process resulted in a spatial frame of "thick walls" that double as storage space and load bearing structure. Everyday routines are supported by closets and cupboards hidden in the walls. The open spaces are temporarily occupied with these activities.
On the upper level, activities like dining, cooking and office work take place, in areas the architects define as "roof terraces". "They are more intimate and private compared to the large open living room," state the architects. "The rooftops maximize the functionality of the space, without comprising the sense of open space."
Marc Koehler Architects: House like a Village, Private House in Amsterdam
Address: Levantplein 5, Amsterdam
Design: Marc Koehler Architects
Design team: Marc Koehler, Miriam Tocino, Anna Szczuek, Maarten Verhelst
Interior furniture design: Marc Koehler Architects & Made-up interior works
Area: 160 square metres