Although brick homes are certainly nothing new, the respected building material is having somewhat of a renaissance moment as architects search for materials with sustainable properties. Dutch firm Joris Verhoeven Architectuur has just unveiled Villa Alders — a large, brick family home that runs completely on solar power, making the structure a zero-energy build.
A maintenance-friendly product, bricks are incredibly durable, meaning that they are suitable for virtually any climate. The porous nature of brick enables a tight thermal envelope because it can store and radiate heat when necessary. Brick is also unique in that it is a material that can be recycled or repurposed fairly easily when the structure has come to the end of its lifecycle.
Keeping these features in mind, the architects created the beautiful Villa Alders in a way that complements, rather than stands out from, many other homes throughout the Netherlands. However, its boxy shape conceals a number of unique systems that enable the structure to be a zero-energy household.
Punctuated with several windows, the house consists of several cubes clad in Belgian hand-molded bricks. Additionally, the home’s cubed volumes allowed the architects to use various flat roofs to their advantage. On the upper roof, a massive solar array meets all of the home’s energy needs while the lower roof was planted with a state-of-the-art cooling sedum green roof that adds significant insulation properties to the design.
The interior boasts a modern but warm living space. All-white walls and concrete flooring contrast nicely while an abundance of natural light in the living spaces further reduces energy demand during the day. Minimalist furnishings and art pieces are found throughout, adding to the home’s contemporary aesthetic.
The house is also designed to be flexible based on the family’s needs for generations to come. The layout spans two stories, which can be closed off to create a separate living area on the bottom floor after the children grow up and leave home. This allows for the possibility of creating a rental unit upstairs for extra income or a spacious guest room for visitors.
Photography by John van Groenedaal via Joris Verhoeven Architectuur