Japanese motif and Latin proverb
LEIDEN (NL) - This private house, designed by Amsterdam practice Berger Barnett, stands in Nieuw Leyden, a new suburban development masterplanned by MVRDV, where individuals can build a house on so-called free plots – not free in the sense of free-standing, but in the sense of free to determine the design. In order to have more free space around their dwelling, the owners of this particular house decided to buy not one, but two plots; this made it possible to place the house towards the rear and design an extra wide frontage overlooking a raised garden.
The base storey is the children's domain and behind that is the car port. The living zone is on the first floor with access to the garden, while the second floor contains the parents' rooms. Apart from its unusual width, the house is chiefly distinguished by the front fence and by the perforated metal screen placed in front of the top two floors. The screen, six metres high and movable across the full width of the facade, can be used to regulate privacy and sunlight penetration. Water jet cutting technology (computer-controlled) was used to cut a pattern in the aluminium, inspired by Japanese pictures of waving grasses. The aluminium was then powder coated. The density of the holes varies so that in some places the screen-cum-facade is more open than in others. Since the pattern is also projected onto the floor when the sun shines, the aspect of the interior changes during the course of the day.
The possibility of using water jet cutting technology to create something very personal is especially evident in the proverb that is subtly incorporated into the entrance gate. This Latin saying – gallus in suo sterquilinio plurimum potest (every cock will crow upon his own dunghill) – cropped up several times during discussions between the clients and the architect. It is a reflection of the client's sense of how private development – still the exception rather than the rule in the Netherlands – was playing out in Nieuw Leyden. (Kirsten Hannema)
Facade, Metal |