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
Description:

“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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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