Green roof with wooden curves
Recreation house, Maarn the Netherlands
The house is situated in and inspired by the sand hills of the Utrechtse Heuvelrug (Utrecht Hill Ridge) in the Netherlands. This small residential home is located on a high hill in a private recreation park with a beautiful view of the surroundings.
The owners of this house live consciously with the environment and are aware of the role of humans in the serious problem of climate change. A small ecological foot print will limit CO2 emissions and the rising sea level. A large part of the Netherlands is below sea level, but this house is located at 41 meters above sea level on one of the highest hills in the province of Utrecht and will stay dry.
Recreation House in Maarn, the Netherlands
NarrativA architects – Houten, the Netherlands
Project architect and supervision:
Shai van Vlijmen
Van Engen – Kockengen
de Prouw Engineering
Exterior and interior finish:
John Lewis Marshall
The multiple round green roofs inspired by the hills creates a joyful design. The home exterior is constructed from well-designed attached volumes with a balanced proportion between the different elements. The interior presents a surprising view with a ceiling that waves open in places to create needed space above the staircase. The created spatial effect is magical. The ceiling’s wooden strips on a background of black felt only emphasize the effect.
The clients had a clear wish of to have a second bedroom for guests. This extra space required obtaining the maximum allowed volume for this site according to local regulations. A round roof was the way to create more useable floor space on the first floor without raising the volume too much like in the case of a gable roof. The bedroom on the first floor under the round roof is equipped with a dormer to bring in light and provides sufficient space for standing next to a double-bed.
Ecological and biobased
The green roofs combined with the wooden façades give the house a clear ecological appearance. This is no ‘Hobbit hole’ but a modern, clean design for a second home where the owners can enjoy not only the fine Dutch summers but also the long dark winters.
This home is designed in relation to the sun and the surrounding environment. The south façade has a relatively high percentage of glass and walls well insulated with natural materials. The windows frame the outside nature in a way that you can enjoy the view and feel the ‘outside’ without being exposed.
All walls, first floor and roofs are made of a timber frame construction. The inside of the outer walls has a special installation-zone of pressed wood fibre plate. This zone is used for the electricity and water pipe lines that can be easily placed with the help of a simple milling cutter. This zone ensures the airtightness of the structure and raises the insulation value of the outer wall. The walls are built according to ecological principles that allow the walls to be vapour permeable but airtight at the same time. These aspects are important for the air quality, relative humidity, sustainability and durability of the home. The façades are cladded with vertical open wooden strips in three different widths with a space of 8 mm in between. The rhythm of the cladding is well design so the windows and doors will fit nicely in between.
The Sedum roof presents a clear connection between the house and the environment. The waterproof curved roofs are covered with a soft water absorbing layer of earth substrate and six sorts of Sedum plants. The green roof contributes to the biodiversity of the area and is attractive to birds, bumblebees, bees and butterflies. The roof is an effective water buffer during heavy rain and downpours. In the summer it contributes to the insulation value of the roof and protects the watertight layer of EPDM rubber from the UV sun radiation. Last but not least, it is a dazzling element to look at.
The ground floor is equipped with all the spaces needed for a house. It is compact but comfortable with a living room, kitchen with dining room, toilet, bedroom and a bathroom.
The L-shape of the living room – kitchen creates different connected spaces that each has its own character and qualities. Each space has a different view of the surrounding nature. The windows differ in height, size and position, which accentuates the feeling of overall connection with the surroundings.
The living – dining room and kitchen embrace the outside terrace. The wide opening of the sliding doors optimize the interior – exterior relation and connection. On the windowsill of the big seamless corner window, you can sit to read or just gaze outside daydreaming as if you are between the trees in the forest.
On the first floor there is an extra bedroom and bathroom. The working space borders the stairs and the double height (vide) of the living under the curved roof. This visual connection brings the ground- and first floor together and helps to create some more cohesion and unexpected internal and external views.