In the spirit of making what’s old new again, Dutch architect Niels Olivier led a team to transform a disheveled military compound into modern, functional spaces. Located in Arnhem, The Netherlands, the project known as The Hinge, or De Scharnier, included a master plan drawn up by MVRDV and Buro Harro.

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A 4x4 grid of photos showing the before and after images of the north and east facades.

Two interconnected buildings formerly housed a theater on one side and a restaurant on the other. Following the conversion, the same structure now houses a living space, workshop and office for a well-known artist and his family.

A rectangular building with paneled cladding. A person and a dog stand outside the building.

Related: A clever, garden-filled facelift revives a derelict building in Denmark

The buildings on the site date back to the 1960s and 70s and were in bad disrepair. Yet, rather than demolish them and build from the ground up, it was important to Olivier from a sustainability perspective to salvage as much of the original structures as possible. 

The east facade of the building, showcasing a second floor glazed facade.

On this topic, Olivier told Inhabitat, “My passion is to bring new life to outdated, abandoned buildings. Make something out of what is considered to be nothing! A fast route to sustainability is to re-use as much as possible, this should in particular count for the re-use of the main structure of buildings, saving tons of concrete, wood and steel.”

A wood, folding entrance.

Some portions were just too dilapidated to save, such as the entire facade, which fell apart and was replaced with aluminum frames and wooden cladding. During the same portion of the project, a large folding door was added to accommodate the transport of large art pieces or a van if needed. In another space, formerly a kitchen, office and technical room, the construction of a few walls and the removal of others created two apartments and an artist’s office.

Light-colored wood stairs with a cat walking down while light streams in through a nearby window.

In addition to using natural materials and employing methods to salvage the original architecture, the team incorporated energy-saving systems into the plan. Pellet heating provides comfort for the entire complex. Additional energy needs are met using solar panels placed on the roof. Although there is a pool on-site, it is unheated for the sake of energy savings and is filtered using a natural system that includes plants and gravel. According to a press release, this makes the house “almost energy neutral.”

+ Niels Olivier Architect

Via ArchDaily 

Images via Arne Olivier Fotografie