The W.I.N.D. House in the north of Holland incorporates both integrated sustainable solutions and home automation, whilst enabling a flexible use of space. Located on the outskirts of a Dutch village and close to the sea, the house is backed by a wooded area and fronted by an open expanse of polder landscape.
The design of the house responds to both its setting and to the seasons. The more intimate working and sleeping areas are located towards the back, where the enclosure of the woods provides an intimate setting, while the living areas enjoy panoramic views of the polder landscape to the front.
By ‘pinching’ the house on all four sides, the architects invited nature to enter the interior and, at the same time, accentuated views of the surroundings. The pinched design gives the house four wings: a living area, a kitchen and dining area, a bedroom area and a music-room and work area. A split-level interior increases the autonomy of each wing, while ensuring open connections among the different areas of the house, whose central core contains not a single door.
The architect and his clients have opted for a clean aesthetic. Other than the glazing used on front and rear façades, exterior walls are clad in wooden slats. On the front and rear façades, the strength of UNStudio’s ‘pinched’ design lies in the technically faultless execution of glazing produced with KELLER minimal windows®. Full height glazing maximise the views in an area of outstanding natural beauty pulling a remarkable amount of natural light deep into the interior. As such, the large frameless fixed and sliding windows of the KELLER minimal windows® series create a visual relationship between interior and exterior.
The architect: ‘I was very worried that at some point in the process those curved glass walls would be replaced by ordinary glazing to save money, but fortunately that didn’t happen.’
Exterior canopies and side walls further strengthen this connection by framing the view towards the landscape and providing sheltered outside terraces. These side walls are predominantly closed and therefore additionally serve to provide privacy from the neighbouring buildings on either side.
The elevated position of the open plan living areas (kitchen / dining / living) on the first floor further enhances the views to the exterior. The garden area in front of the wings slopes gently up towards the terraces, creating the impression of a continuation of the polder landscape directly into the house.
A comprehensive home automation system enables integrated control of the electrical systems including solar panels and mechanical installations. Energy from the sun is harvested by solar panels located on the roof at the back of the house. In addition the integrated sustainability concept of the house consists of a central air/water heat pump for heating and cooling and mechanical ventilation with waste heat recovery. The heat pump provides warmth in the winter and cooling during the summer. Distribution is provided by floor heating and cooling with individual control for each room.
Heat gain is reduced through the use of tinted glass on the fully glazed front and back facades. This coated glazing further enables natural light to flood the interior spaces, whilst increasing privacy during daytime.
The walls and ceilings of the house are clad with natural clay stucco and the main walls consist of clay bricks which aid in providing a healthy indoor climate due to the evaporating effect of the clay.
The façade and the roof are clad with wooden slats that occasionally taper in and out, providing a play of varying shadows according to different views, whilst also creating soft openings for secondary windows in the kitchen and bathroom.