The Black Pearl house is a remarkable retrofit of an abandoned building in Rotterdam that relishes the unexpected. The striking modern residence grafts a playful contemporary space onto the rough bones of the old building, and unexpected design quirks are everywhere. A design collaboration between Studio Rolf.fr and Zecc Architects, the new home serves as an example of how the radical re-envisioning of a space can reap many rewards. The offset street windows, eclectic interior, and artificial grass siding make the Black Pear House a rare find - read on for a look inside!
The reworking of the dilapidated building was anything but modest. The ground floor is now an open-air wood shop that leads to a bamboo garden patio in the back. The narrow, white stairs open to the main living floor, where a tremendous amount of work took place to open up the floor’s interior. The outer brick walls are left intact, displaying the history of the building. The entire project is rife with an endless amount of details and design quirks that are harmoniously eclectic. The smooth white stairs glow from behind against the raw brick wall, and white spaces jump to black to designate the large open space. As the floors are now all connected, daylight can reach down to the lower floors from a skylight.
The new windows are placed in a contemporary style, but the originals are left intact and painted black. The disorientation continues with the entire side of the building, which is covered in artificial turf. The original lath has been reinserted into the ceilings, and other interesting ceiling details pop up everywhere. The top floor holds a day-lit office and a more subdued rest space that is wrapped in lath strips. Another staircase leads to the roof, which provides dynamic views of the city. A small greenhouse and a garden create a sunny retreat. Living up to its, name the Black Pearl House is a very rare discovery in a plain block of uniform townhouses.
Photographs Frank Hanswijk