Five-storey wood-carving home built up by prefab wood elements

Five-storey wood-carving home built up by prefab wood elements

Architects: MAATworks
Location: Amsterdam,The Netherlands
Year: 2010
Area: 3.358 ft²/ 312 m²
Photo courtesy: Marcel van der Burg

“In spite of the prefab wood elements used in this construction, this private house on Steigereiland in IJburg conjures up the idea of an outsize, five-storey wood-carving. Maatworks architects were commissioned to fill the entire building envelope with a town house inspired by the clients’ beloved Scandinavians houses.


As in previous projects in IJburg, the architects used one material in particular: pine wood.Here that material was even painted bright red for the facade. Behind that eye-catching facade lies a prefab system based on glulam building components that allows the architect to connect nearly all the components both structurally and spatially.


For example, the wall of the staircase are both banisters and walls for the adjoining rooms. Via a large skylight and several small openings in the stairwell, daylight penetrates deep into the house, an effect that is further enhanced by the floor-by-floor widening of the stairwell as it rises.


The house required minimal detailing because the dimensionally accurate prefab internal walls allowed for plain connections, while all the ducting and recesses for wall sockets were concealed during prefabrication.


Pine’s tendency to yellow has been counteracted with a coating of lye. Maat architects avoid monotony in the interior with whitish-grey doors and cement covering floors, with integrated floor heating, finished wit fair-faced concrete.


The house was designed in accordance with the passive solar energy principle: large expanses of south-facing glass ensure that solar heat floods the house in winter, while architectural solar shading in the form of balconies and a roof overhang above the terrace prevent overheating in summer.


Surplus heat is expelled via the skylight above the stairwell. In combination with the material properties of this “wooden house”, this provides for a pleasant indoor climate and Scandinavian-style domestic bliss in the middle of the big city.”

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