Estate Valkenberg

Estate Valkenberg

Ard de Vries Architecten
Twente, Netherlands
Project Year
Private Houses
Kim Zwarts

Estate Valkenberg

Ard de Vries Architecten as Architects

The fairness of the plaice, the purity of the family and the focus on the crafts together create a new property that is rooted in the landscape tradition of the bocage landscape.

Location From the ‘Zonnebergweg” at Ootmarsum you’ll arrive at the farm, located in the middle of one of the most beautiful landscapes in the Netherlands.

In the valley between the mountains of Oldenzaal and Bentheim, the river ‘de Dinkel’ is flowing northwards for already thousands and thousands of years. This region is known for its sandstone tradition. The estate is located amidst one of the most beautiful landscapes in the Netherlands.

The bocage is a sandy landscape of relief. It is varied by a plurality of small streams.It’s distinctive historical features are the camps, the ash, the hedgerows, thickets, amphibian ponds and the stream valleys.

The house is part of the estate Valkenberg and therefore takes a position in the tradition of heirs and estates in Twente. The house absorbs the length, the views and the seclusion –recognizable characteristics of the bocage - in itself. The size of the rooms, the light, the use of materials and the orientation ensure that the prospect of the bocage is constantly changing when moving through the house.

The length of the entrance is communicating with the existing hedgerows. The new sheltered environment of the bocage is to experience in the open, central kitchen. The panorama of the ash is to celebrate in the privacy of the living room. The landscape is appearing in the villa in multiple guises.

Daily space The client had a dairy farm. The family had lived in this place for ages. The whole landscape is a result of their daily history. We have tried to make the landscape the origin of the house. In this way their everyday rituals that take place outside can pass directly into the family rituals that take place inside the house.

We have done this by creating spaces that ensure that the perspective is constantly changing because of their seize, illumination, function, materials and orientation.

The architecture has to receive the resident. The home has to enable him to experience the space and to live his everyday live here. It should not constantly ‘talk’ with him.

From dirt road to dining table Trough a sandy path, the resident enters the driveway at an old birch, Here, he can overlook the first private bocage.Along the thick Bentheim sandstone walls, he descends – thanks to the relief of the landscape. It gets darker and the resident loses his direct connection with the landscape.

Behind the heavy, made of oak, front door, he enters a nine-meter-high space. The large windows let the light enter along the six-meter-high Bentheim sandstone wall in the entrance hall. Right in front of him there is the dining table in a horizontal space that is embraced by the panoramic hedgerows. This is the most important place in the house. It’s the space in which the family gets together every morning and every evening.

From stairs to bed Through the monumental entrance hall, the resident can go upstairs – here you cannot orientated on the landscape At the top of the stairs he’ll find the library on his left hand, with a view of the driveway. On his right there is the living room, around a second fireplace with a view on the ash towards Germany. At the end of the route there is the master bedroom which has a ratio of 6 x 6 x 6 meters. Here the resident wakes up with a view of all seasons.

Made of local materials We find it very important that the materials – if possible – come from naturally grown, raw materials. Prior to the design, the family bought some sandstones of an old, demolished house. This had to be the basis for their home.

The beautiful barns near Dinkelland are made from untreated oak, a material that can be found superfluous in this area.

Crafts The carpenter assembled the oak structure in two days. All of the columns and bars are connected by dovetail joints. Every cut, every nick, every connection was already in the right bar, on the exact right place. The frames are made of untreated, laminated oak. The entire interior is made of slid oak.

With the bricklayer we selected the heavy sandstones carefully to designate specific places. The appearance of the stone differs by its orientation to the sun and it transforms with the seasons.

Construction The concrete basement is surrounded by Bentheim sandstone. On top of the sandstone are the sand-coloured concrete prefab-elements with a concrete construction floor. This plate has an overhang of six meters in the area of the kitchen. On top of this there is the oak structure.

The tectonics of the wood construction explains the space. Like in Japanese architecture the structure is filled with different materials depending on the function of the space. This has caused a rich variety within the structure that defines scale, location and relationships.

Geometric ordering principles A thick wall intersects the landscape. The hunting room is formed by that wall and embraces the room. This ends up in the two fireplaces downstairs and upstairs. The plate above is divided into a series of squares that are visible in the concrete elements, square spaces, the oak ceiling and the light points.

Sustainability through age The first place the family took us for some inspiration was the six centuries old Katharine Church of the castle in Bentheim. A very sacred and simple space made of sandstone and oak, with a beautiful light.

Sustainability through reuse Prior to the design, the client bought some sandstones of an old demolished house. This had to become the basis for the new house.

Oak trees are found in abundance on the estate. The wood for the house comes from trees that are felled and laid out to dry in front of the house by the family.

Sustainability by reducing energy consumption A thermal storage system, a septic tank and heating by wood-burning stoves will contribute to a more energy efficient home.

Sustainability through ecological landscape development The estate will contribute to the development of a new Ecological Network (EcologischeHoofdstructuur, EHS). Hedgerows, heather, thickets, amphibian ponds and brooks have been re-designed.

All of the land is maintained within the EHS by grazing, mowing, fertilizing, pruning and reduced use of chemical pesticides.

A herd of deer is living on the estate. Next to the house there is a stream valley, dug by the client. By the tracks of the hooves you could see that the deer used the small river as drinking places.

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