SUPERMODELS is an initiative of CONCERN
Villa Sonneveld, 1933
Architect: Leendert van der Vlugt, Brinkman & Van der Vlugt
Client: Albertus Sonneveld
After collaborating successfully on the creation of the Van Nelle factory, Albertus Sonneveld, one of Van Nelle’s directors, asked Leendert van der Vlugt to design a house for his family. The selected location was part of the Dijkzicht villa park, a construction initiative by the Rotterdam municipality to prevent the exodus of prosperous citizens.
The design exhibits the characteristics of Functionalism and New Construction: light, air and space. The ground floor consists of an attached garage, bedrooms and a bathroom for the servants and a studio for the daughters. The second-floor living space contains a spacious living room with library, dining room, kitchen and a large terrace. The third floor contains the bedrooms, a guest room and a linen closet along with a balcony and a terrace.
The construction consists of a steel frame and concrete floors which allowed for an unrestricted layout. The inside was united with the outside through the use of a lot of glass and the creation of open elements in the façades.
Sonneveld, who was in America on a regular basis for his work, was enthusiastic about modern luxury novelties, a passion that Van der Vlugt knew well how to address. As a result, there was a house telephone, call lights for the servants, a central music system and a spacious master bath with a bathtub as well as a separate shower, with massaging showerheads, and a heated towel rack.
The exterior façades were stark white, but the interior featured bright, vivid colors such as vermilion red, cornflower blue and egg yolk yellow, combined with light and dark gray and brown. All of the furniture was selected especially for its location and most of it was made by the manufacturer, Gispen, in consultation with all of the family members. The house is now a National monument and has been a museum residence since 2001.
Le Corbusier about Van der Vlugt: "In his work, Van der Vlugt has found the perfect form for the architect’s mission, which is to bring happiness to people."
Sodae House, 2009
Architect: Don Murphy, VMX architects
Client: Sylvie Murphy
Irish architect, Don Murphy, designed a house for his family – himself, his wife and three children – in a traditional polder landscape on the edge of Amsterdam. The name refers to the initials of the five residents.
The mandatory Dutch pointed roof that was required for this location was cleverly circumvented through a design with an asymmetric ten-plane polyhedron with slanting sides. Despite the fact that the house is modern and contemporary, it satisfies all the required guidelines regarding height and angle of the façade surfaces.
The four sides of the base volume are cut in such a way that the house looks different on all sides. It is a volume that remains exactly the same if you turn it upside down. The construction consists of lime sandstone, concrete and steel. The architect wanted the house to look as much as possible like a natural object and he was inspired by boulders. His intention is that the concrete will become discolored by rain and moss so that, over time, the house will become like a large, natural stone.
The house has three floors, each with a different level of privacy and orientation. The kitchen, dining room, living room and study are located above in a loft-like space with an incredible view over the surrounding meadows and the water. The bedrooms are located on the ground floor. The basement, with less light, contains space for hobbies and storage (cinema, fitness, library). The house is divided vertically into a section for the children and a section for the parents, each with its own private bath and private entrance. With this format, the house subtly interweaves individual and shared use.
"It is important that the design exudes a certain purity, a kind of self-evidence. As if it has always been standing there." Don Murphy
Hardglas (Hard Glass), 1984
Architect: Jan Benthem, Benthem Crouwel Architects
Client: Benthem family
Just after his graduation architect Jan Benthem, from the Benthem Crouwel agency, won an unusual homes competition in Almere in the De Fantasie (The Fantasy) neighborhood. Each of the ten winners was awarded a plot of land, which they could use for five years. The building code did not have to be taken into account and the houses were free of building regulations. The temporary nature of the project meant that it had to be possible to dismantle the house quickly. For this reason they chose a space-frame floor construction with adjustable support points connected to a concrete slab foundation. This foundation supports a box with a base area of eight by eight meters. Of that area, one two-meter section is enclosed and finished out with bright green sheeting. This section is intended for the more private functions, including the kitchen, a bathroom and two bedrooms. The remainder, where the living room is located, features an un-curtained, sealed-seam, tempered-glass façade. In this way, the surrounding landscape is gathered into the house from every angle. Steel cables hold the lightweight steel floor and the ceiling to the substructure. The house was consciously designed to utilize, as much as possible, standard prefab catalogue elements that were assembled on-site. Despite the fact that the house was intended to stand for only five years, the Benthem family lived there for 25 years and the house is still extant.
"I always find it a challenge to keep it as simple as possible: everything that you can leave out, leave out, that is, indeed, a kind of game." Jan Benthem
Rietveld Schröder House, 1924
Architect: Gerrit Rietveld
Client: Truus Schröder-Schräder
Mrs. Schröder, a widow with three children, and her architect, Gerrit Rietveld, found a suitable plot of land for a house in what were then the outskirts of Utrecht, across from existing houses, with a view of the meadows. This house would be the first one in a long career that followed for Rietveld, who began as a carpenter.
The façade design developed from a painted rectangular box into a collage of surfaces and lines, whereby the components are consciously separated from each other. The surfaces are white and various shades of gray. The windows, frames and a number of small linear elements are painted in black, red, yellow and blue according to the ideas of De Stijl art movement.
Rietveld initially wanted to build the house out of prefabricated concrete elements, but this proved to be too expensive. That is why only the foundation and the balconies are made of reinforced concrete, with the other sections of closed construction made of masonry and then covered with a layer of plaster.
In order to comply with building regulations, the ground floor was laid out rather traditionally, with an eat-in kitchen and three sitting rooms/bedrooms. The second floor, formally the attic, was where architect and client had the freedom to shape the space in the way they had envisioned. A system of sliding and partially rotating panels, in closed position, allows the floor to consist of three bedrooms, one bathroom and a living room. But there is an infinite series of possibilities between closed and open, each providing its own spatial experience. The idea that architecture is the interpenetration of mass and space has been given a different shape in the characteristic corner window on the second floor that can open completely without a point of support. Later on, Rietveld designed the zigzag chair especially for this house. Mrs. Schröder lived here until her death, during which time the house underwent a few modifications and, after which the house was restored and transformed into a museum residence.
"Where we sit better on a table in our best moments than on a chair or, as a whole, have no need for a house, table or chair, the house for the future (this is the house for the new generation) will not be able to entirely satisfy the still currently prevailing concept of 'living'." Gerrit Rietveld
Woonhuis Rieteiland Oost (East Riet Island House), 2011
Architect: Hans van Heeswijk architects
Client: Hans van Heeswijk and Natascha Drabbe
Architect Hans van Heeswijk created his own house on a strip of land with do-it-yourself plots on the Rieteiland Oost, part of the new IJburg neighborhood in Amsterdam. He lives there with his wife and occasionally with his three children who are attending university. The diagonal placement of the house on the lot was designed so that the house has a panoramic view of the water and rugged landscape of the Diemerpark. The house is a simple rectangular construction of three floors of living space and a basement. The street facade is clad with perforated, anodized aluminum panels. In contrast, the façade on the water and park side is entirely glass. All of the details are focused on keeping the construction as slender as possible to enhance the view and to maximize the natural light.
The core of the house contains a service block for all of the practical functions such as bathrooms, closets, pipes and a dumbwaiter. The three floors surrounding it are connected to each by a series of cantilevered platforms that punctuate the open steel and glass stairway. The entryway and eat-in kitchen are located on the ground floor, the living room and workspace are located on the second floor, and the bedrooms with bathroom and roof terrace are located on the third floor. The transparency of the space allows you to see from the floor to the ceiling from every location in the house. The materials used were unfinished steel, smooth unpainted concrete and aluminum frames. The furniture and latches and hinges were also designed in a minimalistic style. Energy is provided by heat and cold storage in the soil, a heat pump and solar collectors on the roof.
"I had the concept ready in one weekend; after that, I was busy with the details for two, three years." Hans van Heeswijk
Maison d'Artiste, 1923
Location: Never built
Architect: Theo van Doesburg and Cornelis van Eesteren
The Maison d’ artiste (House of the Artist) is the design for a studio residence that was never built. It exists only in the form of a scale model made for an exhibit in Paris centered on the work of members of De Stijl (The Style). Cornelis van Eesteren was young and had just graduated when he became acquainted with the older Van Doesburg through a Bauhaus lecture. They then worked together, investigating the spatial translation of De Stijl ideas.
While the duo’s other two designs at the exhibit were well thought out, it seems as if the Maison d’artiste was developed during the process of making the scale model itself. The scale model is not finished very neatly and, in terms of construction; the design does not fit together well. The main shape has been joined together, with floors and roofs attached, and finished further with the layout, the façades and the color areas. The construction details were never provided. However, the designers were, through Le Corbusier among others, familiar with the new techniques that used reinforced concrete in such a way that load-bearing framework construction could be achieved and floor plans could be laid out freely.
Part of the reason why the Maison d’artiste is not a very realistic design is its size. The floor area amounts to an incredible 525 m2 with ceiling heights of three meters. The house would definitely not be able to be built for personal use. Cornelis van Eesteren had yet to begin his career as an urban designer and although Van Doesburg was already a well-known artist at that time, he had nowhere near the financial resources necessary to realize such a project. However, he did build a much simpler residence for himself and his second wife, Nelly, in Meudon near Paris, where he died in 1931 at age 47.
"During my collaboration with the young architect, C. van Eesteren (1923), I myself tried to use color as a reinforcing element in the architectonic images of a space." Theo van Doesburg
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SUPERMODELS is an initiative of CONCERN