When we first met the client he said one important thing. ‘I want a house where my kids can throw their bicycles against the wall and enter the house with their muddy feet’. So this became our leitmotiv in designing the house. In every decision we made we asked ourselves the question is this sturdy, strong and honest enough. No room for fragile beauty.
The house is located on a plot that became vacant after a fire. It is just across the water from the Amsterdam central railway station. Though only a few minutes by ferryfrom the busy Amsterdam city center the area still breaths a rural atmosphere. To obtain this unique spot our client had camped a few days in front of the city hall in order to be the first in line to opt for the plot. A good side effect of this way of handing out the plots was that you already got acquainted with your neighbors.
Most important design decision was to lift the ground floor about 70 cm above street level to reach the level of the ancient dike in the backyard. In this way the house gets some privacy from the busy bicycle traffic on the front and looks over rather than against the dike on the back. Another hidden gem of the house is the roof terrace with a build in BBQ overlooking the ‘IJ’ water and cruise terminal.
Inside we wanted the house to have the feel of living in a converted barn or industrial building with a living room of six meters high. Though the house seems a bit more eclectic in style than some of our more modernist villa’s it resembles the most the house of the architects who in fact lives in a converted barn. When designing your own house you find out that not everything you learned at architecture school applies to you.