For us at Inhabitat, the best holiday retreats don’t have the flashiest facades or biggest pools—the best ones are those that sit lightly on the land and embrace nature from every angle. Groningen-based De Zwarte Hond completed an eco-friendly vacation cabin that’s nestled among sand dunes on the Dutch island Schiermonnikoog. The family holiday home, named Dockboot, is partially submerged in the landscape and clad in natural materials like larch and moss to help the structure blend into its island environment.
Despite the Dockboot’s compact appearance, the holiday home is surprisingly spacious. The architects bypassed the island’s building restriction that limits domestic home footprints to 110 square meters by partially submerging the structure underground. The resulting 260-square-meter L-shaped building comprises two interconnected blocks clad in vertical strips of larch, which vary in width and tones of gray. The home stands at a right angle to frame a flagstone courtyard.
The bright and airy interior is filled with natural daylight and ventilation that filters through full-height glass facades that also frame views of the dune landscape. The street-facing façade, on the other hand, is mostly closed to preserve privacy, but is punctuated by a long horizontal window to let in light. The ground floor houses the communal areas and includes the open-plan kitchen, dining room, living area; a games & tv room; and storage space. Four bedrooms and a sauna room are tucked into the underground level.
The larch-clad facade will age over time to develop a beautiful patina and help blend the structures—each of which is topped with angled rooflines to complement the dune landscape—into the surroundings. The appearance of the zinc and wood roof is softened by the addition of moss sedum. An environmentally sensitive approach was used in selection of materials, which are mostly natural and help control energy usage. In addition to the green roof and strategic solar placement, Dockboot also includes quality insulation, triple-glazed windows, natural shading, and LED lighting.
Images via De Zwarte Hond