Dutch firm Paul de Ruiter Architects has triumphed over 110 entries to win the highly-esteemed ARC13 architecture prize with their ecologically-minded Villa Kogelhof. The prestigious award is given to those few projects “wherein the usage and the technology are aligned in an innovative manner, aiming to strengthen sustainability as an integral part of architecture.” Located in Kamperland, Zeeland, Villa Kogelhof is a privately owned, energy efficient home set on 25 hectares of protected land.
Comprised of several energy efficient features, the home’s modern interior enjoys a constant comfortable temperature while simultaneously remaining energy neutral year round. More than just a gorgeous energy-saving structure, however, the Villa’s “floating” home design is a perfect example of how modern minimalist architecture can still embody a strong ecological consciousness.
The architectural project was given the green light thanks to a local governmental program that aims to connect regional ecological zones throughout the country. In 2006, the owner of the Villa was allowed to buy 25 hectares, which was farmland at the time, on the condition that it would be returned to its pre-agricultural state a protected habitat for plants and animals. Shortly after the purchase, 71,000 six-year-old trees were planted in the surrounding area in order to restore the landscape to its pre-farmland natural state. Along with returning the area to its origins, the growing forest will also fulfill the home’s destiny to become a sustainable “villa in the woods.”
The ARC13 jury awarded the top prize to Villa Kogelhof for its unique commitment to protecting the surrounding nature as well as its beautiful sustainable design. “Villa Kogelhof is the unorthodox accommodation for an ambitious client with a unique architecture,” they said. “The uncompromising design is a spartan interior coupled with a view of the stunning surrounding landscape of Zeeland. In addition, the villa makes a statement within a world of sustainability which is usually associated with eco-conscious tree huggers: but why should sustainability be no Prada?”
Photos by Jeroen Musch