Gallery: The Netherlands’s First Energy-Neutral Monumental House by Zec...

The original brickwork that covers the house’s facade is visible from the inside thanks to a new, visually striking double insulation.

While the house appears to be pretty conventional from the outside, we can sense a mysterious that radiates from within. Surrounded by high trees, the has a solid front door facing the street and actually looks bigger than it actually is.

The house has been extended at the back with a a glass box topped with a concrete roof containing all new installations. One Planet Architecture Institute developed the house’s energy-neutral system, making sure that all the work done to the existing building is reversible and can be undone without leaving a trace. To insulate the villa, natural materials have been used where possible. The internal walls have been insulated with wood fiber and finished with a layer of mud plaster. The original wooden roof was insulated with flax — a natural ‘breathable’ material commonly used with half-timbered houses in the southern Netherlands and Germany.

Photovoltaic solar panels were discretely fixed to the roof to preserving the traditional village aesthetic. The solar panels give plenty of energy to the heat pumps, which are located within the garden’s grounds and able to heat the home. Also located at the rood, solar energy collectors heat the boiler’s water for the bathroom and kitchen. On sunny days the excess energy is either saved or returned to the public grid.

Many of the original elements, such as windows, have been left intact and the original brickwork that covers the house’s facade is also visible from the inside. The main house was for the most part left intact, while the new glass extension at the back contains a kitchen, living room and dinning room. The glass box extension was built using stucco made from crushed bricks reclaimed from the demolished part of the house.

After the completion of the home, Zecc Architects earned the BNA Building Of The Year 2011 for their project.

+ Zecc Architects

+ One Planet Architecture Institute

Photo © Zecc Architects


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  1. quinny October 14, 2011 at 9:31 am

    Indeed, Holland is two provinces in the north-west of the Netherlands: South Holland and North Holland. There are 10 other provinces in The Netherlands.

    Also, Driebergen is not in either North or South Holland, it is in another province altogether (Utrecht).

    Even though I applaud that they’ve converted an old monumental house to higher standards, I find the windows done very ugly…

  2. pbj123 May 28, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    thanks for updating…sorry if my first comment came off as a little mean. the “holland” thing is just a weird pet peeve of mine. Great article though

  3. Ana Lisa Alperovich May 26, 2011 at 11:27 am

    updated, thank you.

  4. pbj123 May 24, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    am i the only one who gets annoyed when people use “Holland” to refer to all of the Netherlands? Holland is not a country.

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