Country House




Family S.







Photos: Michel Claus, Luuk Kramer

Country House

The Dutch landscape owes its lakes to peat excavations that produced turf, the fuel of the Golden Age. The agricultural land around the cities disappeared, in order to heat said cities. Drying plants offered a solution. Later on, when food came from further afield, expansions of the urbanized landscape arose here. But at some places, the lakes remained, the adjacent strips of land popular places to live: in nature, but close to the city.

The Bergse Voor- and Achterplas in Rotterdam is such a place. Both lakes are separated by a strip of land named the Straatweg, traditionally the connection between the city and Hillegersberg. The buildings along it provide a glimpse on both sides of the water and headlands perpendicular to the road. There used to be a silo on one of the plots, that has now been demolished. The concrete floor slab that remained was reused and determined the size and shape of the house. The surroundings dictated the design itself.

To begin with, the rectangular outline has been tackled in three essential places. A chamfer at the eastern point, where a breakfast room with morning sun is created next to the kitchen. A notch on the longitudinal facade to indicate that there is the entrance. A roof projection on the side of the lake to connect the living room with the panorama view. Where the outline of the floor plan has been broken, round wooden columns support the edge of the roof. The interior dictates what the exterior looks like.

Light in all its variations makes this a country house. The reflection of the sun in the surrounding water illuminating the ceilings from below, spaces receiving light from two sides and transmitting it. Changing with the hours of the day, the weather of the week and the seasons of the year.

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