"Blauwestad," roughly twenty kilometers east of Groningen, near the village of Scheemda, presents one of the most interesting urban planning projects in The Netherlands: arising here in the middle of the flat countryside, directly adjacent to an eight-square-kilometer artificial lake, is a residential city for 5,000 inhabitants. The new neighborhood offers not only a great deal of nature and idyllic calm remote from the city: the extremely low density of development affords the apportioning of large lots and numerous open areas. On a group of islands in the eastern part of the lake, Rotterdam architects JagerJanssen recently completed an avant-garde gable roof house. The most prominent eye-catcher of the three-story new house, constructed with a compact basic form, is the anthracite-colored outer shell of fiber cement panels. Beginning from the roof ridge, the dark shell drops down like a blanket over the eaves and the two longitudinal sides of the building, thereby creating a flow¬ing transition from roof to walls. The two front faces of the house are, in contrast, lined with horizontally-laid timber panels. A further special feature is that the basement garage level is designed as significantly smaller than the stories above, making the new house appear to be floating freely over the landscape.
For the most part, the house's facades have a closed construction. Although large windows open up the southern side, extending to the water. In addition to the numerous roof windows and a small winnow on the front, the designers fit in merely three doors accessed by two exterior stairs, and the outdoor terrace situated to the southwest. The interior spaces of the new house nonetheless present themselves as surprisingly bright. Continuous lines of sight offer inhabitants a broad view of the countryside and the lake.
Residential Home in Blauwestad, The Netherlands
JagerJanssen Architects, Rotterdam, www.jagerjanssen.nl
Written for 91° magazine, www.cembrit.com