This heavenly home will have you singing the praises of Netherlands architects Ruud Visser Architects. This 1930s-era church turned contemporary style house in Rotterdam preserves the church’s original shape and architectural elements, like its high, overarching wood ceiling and exposed framing, an upper level loft, and its windows – a defining feature of the church and now, this family home. A glass facade floods interiors with natural light and offers outsiders a sneak peek at this unusual example of Netherlands architecture.
Through its soaring glass facade, the house glows like a beacon, reflecting in the river flowing that flows just steps away.
The building ceased operating as a church in the ’60s. The structure was clad with aluminum plating and converted into a storage facility and garage, until a family with two children bought it with the dream of transforming it into a home.
The lower section of the glass face features sliding doors which open to a patio, while the upper portion is louvered, offering shade and privacy without compromising the light of views of River Rotte.
And what views they are!
Interiors echo the height of the roof in a two-storey living area overlooking the waterfront. The wooden church offered unique bones for a home, which the clients and architects aimed to preserve and showcase in all their glory. The wood ceiling curves high overhead, with the double-height open living area and an enclosed upper-level loft built beneath it.
A church is traditionally a wide, open interior, which isn’t practical a family residence. Thus, the architects added an interior loft volume – essentially, a structure within a structure – to provide privacy to both upper and lower levels, organizing and defining its various rooms and their functions.
The ceiling is a warm, rustic feature that pops against these contemporary interiors, leading your eye upward.
Deep windows carved into the curved ceiling / walls add light and architectural interest. They seem to point to the peak of the ceiling.
Tucked beneath the loft, the lower ceilings here lend the kitchen, living room and dining room a more intimate feel.
Reaching down from the ceiling, exposed wood framing works its way down the walls.
A rear set of stairs lead to the loft. Enjoy the view as you ascend toward to curved wood ceiling and into the upper level, with sight lines open to below.
Upstairs, a large sliding glass window illuminates this enclosed upper level while connecting to the rest of the house.
This area houses the master bedroom and bath, all within a large, open space.
Outside, the only traffic these homeowners will ever see is the odd kayaker or boater. Sweet.
Ruud Visser Architects
photo credit: Rene de Wit