Floating Forms by Rem Koolhaas

Floating Forms by Rem Koolhaas

Location
Enschede, Netherlands
Category
Housing
Hans Fonk

Floating Forms by Rem Koolhaas

OBJEKTⒸInternational as Publishers

the house floats above the ground like horizontal layers of mille-feuille among austerely vertical pine trees.the floating effect acquires additional impact with the driveway that runs beneath the house.Vast walls of glass afford people taking a walk in the woods a view into the depths of the interior - yet they will only see part of the house, the rest is sunk into the ground. the stunning glass house was created by rem koolhaas and his office for metropolitan architecture, adding a floating factor to the tradition of illustrious predecessors like ludwig mies van der rohe and Philip Johnson.


The house is a transparent symphony of glass and concrete interlaced with walkways and ramps, and composed by Rem Koolhaas and his OMA. It stands in the eastern part of the Netherlands and is one of the few residential projects dating from the architect’s early period. The house was recently restored to its former glory and now the powerful lineation of the architecture is once more well defined. It actually comprises two parts: one visible, the other concealed. The visible part floats above the ground, a feature that is reinforced by the driveway that passes, without interruption, through the house. That is also where the entrance is situated. This part of the house consists of two horizontal slabs with large expanses of glass between. The concealed part is embedded in the ground, with dome lights and sunken patios to provide the necessary daylight. The taut line is guaranteed by the ground slab of the transparent section, which serves as the roof slab for the sunken section.


The interior of the glass house is extremely simple. Spacious rooms are arranged around a rectangular cube at the centre and contain the sitting room, seating nooks, dining room and kitchen. Yet their width avoids the suggestion of a corridor effect. One contains a fireplace with a through-view to the patio at the interior of the structure. Together with the master bedroom and adjoining bathroom, they form an introverted part of the house that can be only accessed over an internal drawbridge. From the glass volume, a ramp descends to the entrance and the sunken part of the house. A large patio indicates the ‘boundary’ between the two parts. Initially the children’s rooms were located in the sunken section. Each of those bedrooms has its own dome light and sunken patio. Today they are used as guest accommodation. The large adjacent space in the initial design has been turned into an office and workspace. For sufficient daylight, narrow, horizontal window elements have been placed above the ground plane. From that area an external flight of sleek, wide steps leads to the tree-filled garden.


The interior was planned by Harry and Jos Becker from JHAB Interior Styling in the Dutch town of Enschede in careful collaboration with the owners. Harry: “We presented the present owners with a complete plan and they were enthusiastic. We sought to create a degree of privacy in the glass totality with due respect for the atmosphere of the house. We based our design on the longitudinal axes and the dark floors. And elaborated on that with neutral shades and the occasional red accent colour.”


Izabel Spike

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