Building with brick has long been a celebrated tradition in the Netherlands, but this skinny house in Rotterdam puts a new spin on the age-old material with bricks made from 15 tonnes of compacted industrial waste. The recycled waste bricks form the facade of the new office and home of Nina Aalbers and her boyfriend Ferry in ‘t Veld, the young architecture couple of Architectuur Maken. The duo teamed up with circular economy startup StoneCycling, which created building’s WasteBasedBricks facade from a mixture of uncontaminated industrial waste.
The waste-based house was built on one of Rotterdam’s many empty plots of land—a consequence of the city’s post-war landscape—and is sandwiched between two existing brick-clad buildings. To match its neighbors, the architects envisioned a brick façade but also wanted to build with recycled materials to divert landfill waste. The duo collaborated with Tom van Soest of StoneCycling to create the first project made from the company’s WasteBasedBricks.
The couple, which moved in to their skinny home this fall, began working on the design four years ago and made the most of the 4.65-meter-wide and nearly 9-meter-deep house by creating a large single room for each of its four floors. The ground floor comprises the kitchen and dining room; the first floor houses the office and bathroom; the living room is located on the second floor; and the bedrooms and rooftop terrace are placed on the top floor. The usable area is only 120 square meters per floor, but tall ceilings and access to natural light create a sense of spaciousness.
The exterior facade was built entirely from WasteBasedBricks, built using waste from the ceramics, glass, and insulation industries, as well as rejected clay. All materials were sourced from within a 100-kilometer radius. All StoneCycling bricks are checked for frost resistance and maximum pressure. “The brick is a great example for the architecture we love to design,” write the architects. “Brickwork is one of the most used and loved material for facades in the Netherlands. The recognizability of this product helps people to understand and appreciate their surroundings. The brick and the process we had with StoneCycling also shows the way we like to research what we are designing. When you know so much about the smallest part of your building you can use this knowledge to make the design more and more interesting. To create a great image from afar which is also worth looking from close by.”