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Monday, December 10, 2012

Respecting One’s Roots

By Pari Syal
Photography: Cornbread Works; courtesy Zecc Architecten BV


A renewed respect for old structures without contemporary compromises seems the new age mantra of the architects and clients alike.

Picture this: an old railway cottage in the thick of a small town in North Holland, right next to the Santpoort-Noord railway station. It is bordered on one side by the railway line between Amsterdam and IJmuiden and on the other, by the National Park South Kennemerland – a dreamy locale in the lap of nature.

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Now for the dreamy ambience to get contemporary and upbeat – the brief presented to Zecc Architects involved the transformation and expansion of the cottage taking a cue from the contrast between the straight metal rails and the softness of the dunes, evolving into the hardness of steel, concrete and glass across waving grass, shells and wood.

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The picturesque railway house with its large weathering steel volume almost brutally shoots through its ancient walls outside and provides new insight into the landscape with an almost unchanged inside. On two sides an extension is achieved with hard lines and large glass surfaces, which focus on the surrounding greenery.  

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On the east side, a volume is added to the entrance and living room. In the basement, is the sleeping area with attached bath. An elongated intimate patio flanks the south side, covered with shells.

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On the west side, the expansion is oriented in the width with the dining room linked to the kitchen.   

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With the remains of numerous alterations removed, a pure and characteristic exposed brick structure set off with white surfaces and wooden ceiling rafters opens up the home, with meandering spaces, some linear, others adjacent. From the middle of the house, one experiences long sightlines and a waterfall staircase connecting the various floors.

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With exciting reversals between inside and outside, the outside of the home, as it was, is the interior of the now dining room and the patio looks more like an interior space. Old elements and new additions alternate with each other, lending an element of surprise and intrigue. Hard materials meet the gentle atmosphere of the old house.

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This vocabulary continues in the interiors: design classics combined with found objects, a Persian carpet on the hard untreated concrete, a surfboard next to the dining table and a series of remarkable plants throughout among other little details…

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4 comments :

  1. admire the concept of marrying old and new environment -respect to the architect

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  2. Our core business - (The designand creation of Art and Architectural elements) is most effective when owners and operators of properties in the market allow us to maximise the impact of our Art by maximising the "charactor" of the property in the art that we create.

    There are a number od Architects, Consultants and Designers who will attempt to deliver "Impact" by contrasting with the grandure of (effectively) appealing existing architecture and design.However, our feeling and experience is that the impact and effectiveness ov the visual presentation is actually increased when the "New" art / Architectural elements RE emphasis thte existing "Feel".

    It is this approach that drives us with our "AIM" - to be:-
    A spirational
    I nspirational
    M otivational

    It seems that the project that highlighted here does not take advantage of the history in which it is placed and grounded and hence, for me it just doesnt work.

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  3. This is "Less is More" philosophy of architecture of the Bahause style; it possiblIy is not "more" when the new "modern" style is mixed with it. The old style house design could of been respected with some simple elements of the old style added to the new. .

    ReplyDelete