-Re House

“-Re” House no. 19 – Distribution and Privacy

“-Re” House together with “-Re” Adapt are two series part of a project in which I review, refine and redesign residential projects available on the Dutch housing market. “-Re” House touches projects that have been completed after the year 2000 and could have been done more efficiently to begin with, while “-Re” Adapt looks at how to better adapt older residential architecture that was designed in a different cultural and historical context. 

Generally there are two types of residences. The ones that have as a point of distribution the hallway/s and as a result, each main room is accessed only from it/them. And the ones where the living rooms and/or other rooms are used as distribution points. The most extreme version is a “wagon” type house where each room is accessed through the previous one. Obviously, the later type has reduced levels of privacy and at times, issues in practicality. Thus, the first type is generally preferred.

Original layout:
•  Completed: 2011
Surface: 149m²
External storage: 18m²

• Now, discussing the house at hand, you can imagine that the very first thing to catch my eye was the access through the living room of the lower floor bedrooms. Leaving aside the fact that this is a first world problem, it is not at all ideal to have this type of layout. Imagine screaming teenagers and guests, imagine guests using the facilities while a member of your family is being ill and dragging its feet to the bathroom not wishing to interact with anybody, and so on…
• Talking about circulations and interactions, accessing the laundry room from the kitchen while going through the living room is as undesirable to me as the accessing the storage under the stairs from the living room.
• And last but not the least, for such a small country, that likes to showcase the fact that there space is at a premium, the unused terrace is a painfully wasted surface. There are two possible issues here. One, the proximity of the neighboring houses requires the rooftops to be left unused or/and two: the budget.
Ideally, the entire rooftop would be used as a terrace, or even better as a bigger house, however depending on proximity and lines of sight it can happen that a terrace would be undesirable. In this case I believe that at least the area behind the first floor can be used to create a decent terrace. It also provides for a much better view than the materials used on roofs not meant for daily use.
Now, the budget is another story. An usable roof, meaning a terrace will indeed require more work and more materials than a simple roof. No argument here. But does that initial gain truly counterbalances the long term loss of a balcony/terrace/more space?

New layout:
• Fist on the list was the staircase. It made no sense to have the staircase on one side and the rest of the circulation on the other side. So I moved the front door to the center of the facade. This allows for a central hallway from where both the ground floor and top floor distributions can start.
• As I already explained above, I extended the top floor with a nice terrace. I chose not use it all, but that could be an option.
• As I previously explained, I think the separation we make as adults in regard to work and sleep areas should also be done when it comes to children’s rooms. That is to some extent even more important when it comes to children and teenagers in their formative years.
• For this post I designed the top floor as bedrooms for children however, the space has multiple options that do not have important implications neither in regards to the structure or in regard to the budget. It could as easily be a studio room, a larger bedroom and an open work station, a larger bedroom/studio/atelier and a reading nook or even a completely open floor.
• And yes, I did the unthinkable! I removed the obvious door that would have separated the night area of the ground floor from the rest of the house. Oh, the drama! 
However, due to the long hallway, I think it works perfectly fine. It increases fluidity and gets rid of the claustrophobic feeling of the closed long narrow typical corridor.
• With the same idea of fluidity in mind, I used a sliding door for the living room. I prefer it here because it does not intrude in the space.

Click here for more “-Re” House projects
Click here for more “-Re” Adapt projects

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.