In the Twente countryside of Rijssen, the Netherlands, Dutch practice Reitsema & partners architects and landscape architecture firm Eelerwoude recently completed a new solar-powered dwelling that — despite its contemporary design — looks surprisingly at home with its bucolic surroundings. Taking inspiration from the rural vernacular, the designers styled the three-building project after farmhouse architecture with a modern twist. Dubbed Erve BE and powered by solar energy, the energy-efficient abode consists of a main building and two annexes, all with simple gabled forms and strong sight lines to the landscape.

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gray home with gabled roof and patio

The long and slender volumes of the Erve BE country estate were created in reference to the traditional Twente barns distinguished by their low roof gutters; the new construction is also marked by an absence of gutters to create minimalist eaves. The architects gave the barn architecture more contemporary flair with modern roof trusses and walls of glass as well as with striking patinated zinc roofs over 200 feet in length. The cladding, window frames and roof trusses were built from pre-grayed wood to blend the structures in with the environment. In addition to the abundance of glass and slender floor plan, the main residence and both annexes are set up along two axes that reinforce sight lines toward the Regge River Valley and allow for views straight through the house.

Related: A historic farmhouse is transformed into a modern home with a green roof

long gray home with many windows

white interior with light wood dining table and white kitchen

“The buildings are characterized by their slender floor plans and calmly designed roof surfaces, which appear almost as natural parts of the landscape,” the architects explained. “The house is characterized by a strong relationship between the interior and exterior. A long hallway runs along the front, linking the various functions. Large windows frame the landscape. The facilities are grouped near the entrance, and the living room and kitchen are separated by a veranda, which provides access to a patio that extends into the meadow.”

white interior with glass walls

long gray home lit up at night

Sustainability was also a guiding principle in the design. To keep energy use to a minimum, the home was built with timber-frame construction with a high insulation value. A hidden solar photovoltaic system also helps offset the electricity footprint.

+ Reitsema & partners architects

Photography by Ronald Tilleman via Reitsema & partners architects

gray homes in the distance surrounded by grass