Don’t be fooled by this Rotterdam home’s deceptively plain street-facing facade—the backside of the property reveals a strikingly sculptural home with a glazed facade that wraps around an olive tree. MVRDV designed the contemporary home, called Casa Kwantes, for a client who valued privacy and seclusion but also wanted maximum access to daylight and open living spaces. To minimize its environmental footprint, the home includes several energy-efficient systems and aims for self-sufficiency.
Tucked away on the corner plot of an old hospital, the 480-square-meter Casa Kwantes is entered through an indent on its windowless, mysterious street-facing facade built with white Celosia brickwork. Upon entering the curvaceous living spaces, visitors are bathed in natural light and views of the outdoors. The full-height south-facing windows wrap around the courtyard and the focal point of the house: the olive tree.
The library and the open-plan living room, dining room, and kitchen are located on the first floor, while the sleeping areas are placed on the second level. Curtains provide privacy and shade. The upper floor cantilevers slightly to provide solar shading to the living spaces. Extra storage is tucked away in a small basement and an outdoor suntrap patio at the bottom of the garden offers extra paved barbecue space.
“When balancing municipality requirements for a retro style architecture, the home became a contemporary take on 1930s modernism with its long, cream, shallow brickwork, full-height glazing, and the contrasting integration of the flat and fluid, open and enclosed, flexible and defined,” wrote the architects. “As the newly built homes in the vicinity are more vernacular in their modernist approach, this variation on a more avant-garde architecture has the been subject of discussions with the municipality.”
In addition to ample access to natural light, Casa Kwantes minimizes its energy footprint with a ground-source heat pump, heat exchange system, and rooftop solar system. The solar panels generate enough energy for the home to run entirely on renewable energy. MVRDV expects to home to be entirely self-sufficient on energy and will monitor the home for testing over the next year.
Images © Ossip van Duivenbode