Situated in the woods just outside of Utrecht in the Netherlands, Villa L is a daylit three-story home for a family of five. Designed in collaboration between Powerhouse Company and RAU, the building features various green building strategies including hot and cold-water storage and hidden photovoltaic cells. Its ground floor, occupied by living and dining rooms, is partially covered by a green roof which also acts as a garden for the bedrooms upstairs.
The upper level of Villa L was conceived as a “village of cabins” – a cluster of detached volumes that follow a different outline compared to the ground floor. In order to achieve this, architects developed a complex steel frame that surrounds the volumes. An 11-meter steel cantilever supports the structure – although it’s completely hidden from view. All the high-end energy-saving systems are situated in the basement. The upper floors are simple in organization, yet luxurious and rich in materials and detailing.
The kitchen and the living room are oriented to best utilize natural light and provide views of the garden. Two studies are located near the living area, on the north side next to the entrance. The “cabins” on the second floor are surrounded by a roof garden that appears as an extension of the surrounding forest.
In contrast to the brightness and transparency of the ground floor, with its glossy travertine and mirrored glass, the top floor walls are covered with dark-stained wood to suggest a more private atmosphere.
Photos by Christian van der Kooy