The Geul is one of the Netherland’s few fast flowing rivers and construction near it is not usually permitted. Endorsement to build was granted in this case in exchange for the removal of dilapidated houses that were previously on site. Elements of the building were prefabricated in Amsterdam and built on site within three months.
The river’s frequent flooding led to a few unusual design decisions. The house was built on poles made of local trees so it could rise above floodwater, sewage connections were not made and an underground heating and cooling ventilation system was installed to keep temperatures comfortable throughout the year.
Environmental considerations were widely used in the house. Solar heating, waste-water filtration and purification amongst others. However, a large part of the façade is glazed, so the house no doubt loses heat during the winter and has high solar heat gains during summer from its big windows.
The Japanese Shou-Sugi-Ban technique of burning cedar panels creates a black and silvery colour on the façade and renders the wood virtually maintenance free.
Photos Hans Peter Föllmi / I See For You