The clients wanted to have a thatched-roof house built on a piece of land on the outskirts of Bergen. This resulted in a villa that feels like a cross between a North Holland sheep barn and the architecture of the Bergen School of the 1920s and ’30s.
It took a year of discussion, drawing and more discussion until the right form was found. The design hinged on preserving the great tree in the centre of the property. The house was therefore built on one side of the tree, and the garage, in line with the house, on the other.
The thatched roofs of the house and the garage lean slightly toward each other, and in order to emphasize this link, horizontal strips of copper were incorporated into the thatch, which also keep down algae and moss through the production of copper oxide.
At the rear, the villa is high and open, while at the front it looks like a closed, low barn. This effect was reinforced by placing an embankment in front of the house. From the street one only sees the big thatched roof and underneath a horizontal strip of grass.
The interior is conceived as a staging of alternating big and small spaces, with variations in light and colour. One first enters a small, dark-blue hallway, and then a section in which the hall is double-height and light. The hall is a Gothic space, and the staircase features a split-level landing. Then it gets dark again, and finally one is standing in the spacious and light living room. In the living room, sections of the ceiling have been raised at the corners, creating large corner windows. These produce startling light effects and provide a glimpse of the lower sections of the thatch roof from the living room. The kitchen, which was designed and serves as the centre of the house, is located like a pivot point between the living room and the dining room.
[A] Sjoerd Soeters
[P] Residence & garage
[G] 496 m2