Walking on glass

Posted on Jul 16, 2017

Work on our Utrecht townhouse renovation is almost completed. Last Friday’s site visit shows the magnificent effect of roof lights and floor windows.

Walking on glass

Many townhouses built 100 or more years ago in old Dutch town like Utrecht and Amsterdam have a similar layout. Most of the time the plot in front of these houses is slightly higher than the garden in the back. This creates a half sunken floor called the ‘souterrain’, the French word for submerged. The souterrain has a direct connection with the garden while the ground floor has the actual front door that connects to the street. So how do we make the most of the garden with the living room and kitchen on the ground floor?

Inviting the garden in

First we openend up the garden to the souterrain with a big glass corner window and glass door. This brings the garden right into the house and creates an amazing garden room.

Opening up the house

The biggest architectural feature are the visual and physical connections between the ground floor and souterrain. A void between the living room and kitchen opens the garden room up to the floor above. Strategically placed glass floor windows give the clients views throughout the different floors of the house.

Old and new

The renovation is a great mix of old and new that has been achieved by keeping the historical features like the brick staircase and by not touching the existing roof structure.

New staircase void