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Elle Decor Italia

A 3.4-metre-wide modern house in Rotterdam

An urban renewal project in an abandoned area of the old city

small-modern-houses-rotterdam-living-room
Gwendolyn Huisman & Marijn Boterman, Ossip van Duivenbode, Vincent van Dordrecht

In Rotterdam an architectural gap filled with a small modern house mending the urban fabric

 

Small and modern houses: a necessity and a must in big cities as well as in old historic towns. You have probably come across an abandoned and neglected area for which is hard to imagine a new function, whether in your hometown or in cities you were visiting.

Photo by: Gwendolyn Huisman & Marijn Boterman, Ossip van Duivenbode, Vincent van Dordrecht

Photo by: Gwendolyn Huisman & Marijn Boterman, Ossip van Duivenbode, Vincent van Dordrecht

But the young Dutch architects Gwendolyn Huisman and Marijn Boterman from SkinnySCAR Studio made it! In Rotterdam, they occupied a small lot with the purpose of designing a mini flat on many levels to mend the urban fabric in one of the oldest neighbourhoods in town. 

The area was 3.4 metres wide and 20 metres deep, and it was clearly a daring challenge for the architect pair – needs, volume, and design were in a strong relationship with each other.

 

Photo by: Gwendolyn Huisman & Marijn Boterman, Ossip van Duivenbode, Vincent van Dordrecht

 

So in 2012 everything started: due to the ratio between length and height, the bearing structure needed deep foundations, which were inserted in two parallel reinforced concrete slabs inside of the small and narrow house.

Photo by: Gwendolyn Huisman & Marijn Boterman, Ossip van Duivenbode, Vincent van Dordrecht

 

To better organise spaces and their connections, the architects put the more intimate areas in a two-volume cluster in the middle of the building. These boxes, totally autonomous and isolated by sidewalls, emphasise the interiors’ depth and create an interesting play of visual perspectives in the micro house. The crucial staircase is also designed to enhance the space.

Photo by: Gwendolyn Huisman & Marijn Boterman, Ossip van Duivenbode, Vincent van Dordrecht

 

The area of the mini flat is divided according to function, but there are no real physical boundaries.  On the ground floor are located a large entrance hall and an open kitchen, connected to the garden trough pocket doors, whereas the living room and the library, mostly used in the evening, are on the first floor and overlook the lush garden and the street, respectively. In the living room, an empty space connects the ground to the first floor, which features a big net hammock, setting up a very contemporary relaxing corner.

Photo by: Gwendolyn Huisman & Marijn Boterman, Ossip van Duivenbode, Vincent van Dordrecht

 

Windows are conceived to be used in a ‘spatial’ way. In the library’s front side, they protrude on the façade creating modern alcoves, the ideal spot to lay down and read a book or observe what happens in the street.

Photo by: Gwendolyn Huisman & Marijn Boterman, Ossip van Duivenbode, Vincent van Dordrecht

Photo by: Gwendolyn Huisman & Marijn Boterman, Ossip van Duivenbode, Vincent van Dordrecht

 

The most private part of the small house, bedroom and bathroom, is located on the upper floor. A skylight over the bathtub provides a beautiful view of the sky and lets natural light in the darkest part of the house. 

Photo by: Gwendolyn Huisman & Marijn Boterman, Ossip van Duivenbode, Vincent van Dordrecht

Simple and natural materials are used in the interiors, bringing warmth without dominating perception. The two vertical volumes are covered in pine plywood, whereas the raw concrete ceiling creates a perfect contrast with the glossy floors. Next to the two windows and the entry door, three cement latticed windows allow in light beams that generate charming play of shadows.   

Photo by: Gwendolyn Huisman & Marijn Boterman, Ossip van Duivenbode, Vincent van Dordrecht

www.skinnyscar.nl

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by Paola Testoni / 14 March 2017

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