Building information modeling (BIM), modular construction and low-carbon timber materials combine in the sustainable Buitenhuis, a small, low-impact home with beautiful farmland views in Heinenoord, the Netherlands. Dutch architecture firm VLOT architecten designed Buitenhuis with a strong connection to the outdoors not only by framing sweeping landscape views with an entire glazed facade but also by integrating existing trees and plants into the green-roofed structure. The home is engineered to be completely dismountable with dry connections so that it can removed with minimal environmental impact.
Although the main brief for Buitenhuis seems simple — to create a home for enjoying garden and farmland views — the process for creating the structure was anything but. The architects completely engineered the building with BIM and developed 3D models for the steel foundation and wooden load-bearing structure to minimize construction waste. The modeling also led to a modular structure design based on a 1.5-meter grid with prefabricated components. Laminated larch and cross-laminated timber are the main construction materials; the architects also used wood fiber insulation, padouk decking and birch plywood for the floors and ceilings.
To blur the boundary between indoors and out, Buitenhuis opens up to a large deck in warmer weather. The outdoor living space expands the footprint of the home from 54 square meters to 210 square meters. The deck is cantilevered over a garden and existing ditch, which serves as the boundary between the garden and the farmland that stretches in all directions. The garden is irrigated with rainwater harvested from the sedum-covered roof.
Passive solar principles also informed the design of the home, which is outfitted with all-electric appliances as well as electric floor heating. Extended roof eaves mitigate unwanted solar gain in the summer while permitting winter sun, and the windows can be opened on all sides to promote natural ventilation.
Images via VLOT architecten