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House With Two Volumes: One Above Ground, One Underground

Built by the German construction company Gira for a family of builders seeking the ultimate expression of a minimalist dream residence, this futuristic home stands out on its coastal Dutch landscape. A design by Paul de Ruiter, the house is made up of two distinct wings. One captivating volume soars 3.5 meters above the ground and features family spaces, and is supported by only two small structures. Kept beneath an ornamental reflecting pool is another wing – an underground volume consisting of the personal offices of the residents as well as utility rooms. These two volumes, both decorated with the absolute minimum in furniture and fittings, are perpendicular to each other, connected at a single stairway point. The result is a multipurpose statement with almost 8,000 square feet of space, but one which is not overpopulated with gilding and other unnecessary decoration. It is an architecturally significant building for its entire surrounding region.

The underground volume of the residence is set below the reflecting pool, creating a right angle at its connection to the upper level. This level contains storage, offices, and other public or nonessential rooms, as well as a spacious garage for up to seven total vehicles.
The result of the unusual opposition of structures is a sweeping rectangular footprint for the home and its property. From the sloping driveway’s entrance, the elevated private wing of the dwelling still seems far away. When the lot is eventually filled with planted trees, only a hint of the upper portion of the home will be seen down the sightline of the reflecting pool.
Despite the flat and unshielded nature of the environment of the home’s site, its nearly utter lack of neighboring residential properties allowed for the mitigation privacy concerns. This allowed for such a glass-walled, open design that wouldn’t be possible in a more populous region. However, privacy concerns are still addressed in the long term: more than 71,000 individual trees have been planted to eventually forest the property.
A fairly small, square stairwell covers two flights from the underground initial wing of the home to its airborne family rooms, set at the intersection of the two structures and adorned with sleek minimalist finishes.
The staircase’s square frame forms a cutout column that intersects the entire residence and continues up above the roof of the private volume, serving as a transit space as well as a focal point on the top floor.
The unvarying glass construction of the house’s exterior walls allows even the faintest rays of Dutch sunlight to enrich and enlighten the interior, with sweeping views on all sides. This also contributes to heating the spacious residence, which utilizes more active technologies such as on-site solar and wind-energy systems to bring it to effective energy independence.
Most of the abode’s vast interior spaces are clean and sparse in decoration, with a few contrasting furniture items providing arrangement and definition to the much larger areas surrounding them. Bedroom and bathroom walls are generally kept entirely inside the residence, with the outer glass surfaces reserved for living space and hallways. This is a nod to the maintenance of privacy should passerby happen upon the striking building.


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