FABRIC FACADE

The house is built on one of the 350 plots designated for construction by private builders (very rare in the Netherlands), an initiative of Alderman Adri Duivesteijn, in Homeruskwartier, Almere. The “Herenhuizen” plots, where the extra high ceiling clearance (3.5 m) was required at the ground floor level, is suitable for both residential and work functions.

The assignment was to achieve a spacious home with downstairs a studio artist / exhibition space and on top housing. The principal, Rob Veening, had, after having lived in Canada for many years, the expressed the wish that the house was not small, all minimally seized and narrow (like much Dutch residential building), but rather wide, open and giving one a sense freedom of movement. A dream assignment for space loving designers, with the added challenge of a very limited budget.

To save costs and to make the construction of such a large volume financially viable, a number, some innovative, measures were taken. The house (hull) was made wind and watertight by the contractor Postma after which the client finished it him self: stairs, insulation, interior finish, interior walls, doors, equipment and installation of the external cladding. Postma advantage is that in addition to their timber structure workshop they also produce their own window and door frames. This eliminates contractors traditional 10% surcharge cost over the windows and also very large window frames and doors (2.7m high) could be realized with out any fuss. One of the largest items in a building budget is the facade which is usually the first item that is cut, which always has serious consequence for the architectural image. From there came the radical proposal.

The municipality of Almere has C2C in high esteem and even drafted the “Almere Principles”! This course offered a chance to see how much they really meant it and how much liberty they were willing to give private clients. From this, cc studio developed the idea to try to produce the facade from residual waste, using their contacts with the tent industry,

The extremely durable, non-combustible, residual material comes from rolls of PTFE (Teflon) coated fiberglass fabric, used in the industrial manufacture of conveyors belts for the food. This special material was completely sponsored by Verseidag-Indutex from Krefeld, Germany. The 6 m long rolls (about 1200m2 gross) were cut by the principal and cc-studio into strips and placed as overlapping shingles and tacked on a backing of osb panels. The flexible material moves with wind, creating a lively image. In the sidewall up to a height of 7 meters no pattern is applied due to possible future building that must, by regulation, build up to a minimum height of 7 meters. Through integrated design it was also possible to omit the traditional steel portal for stability. The entire stability comes from stapled Fermacell (fibre board) plates in the front, rear and side facades. To ensure the internal spatial relationship vides and split-levels were used. The artist’s studio downstairs is, at the side of the garden facade visually connected to the living room on the first floor with a vide. The studio therefore has an extra higher windows giving it additional (northern) light.

In the middle of the building volume a central vide with at the top a skylight was carved out, visually connecting all the upper floors. A continuous internal space is the result which has a very pleasant light quality and orientation. Additional advantage is that the study / TV room, top level street side, does not need windows nor received them to save costs. Due to the split-level, the front part of the living room the ceiling height reaches 4.5 m – a real mansion quality. The dimensions of the wooden doors 3.5 m wide x 2.7 m height contributes also to this sense of space. But due to all those pretty large sizes the scale of the building is quite difficult to read and can only really be measured by comparing it with the traditional sizes of the neighboring house.

Finally, the house has a lower energy requirement than demanded by law (A EPC required then was 0.8, achieved 0.6) and also features a number of other sustainability features which make it eligible “Green” financing (a lower interest rate for sustainable building). It was a special, very nice and close collaboration between client and designers that made the best use of the, sometimes some what unconventional, opportunities.

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General information & credits
Client: Ron Veening
Program: housing
Design: cc-studio & studiotx in collaboration with R. Veening
Engineering and structural design: cc-studio
Building physics consultant: Bureau Kent
Contractor: B
ouwbedrijf Postma
Facade: Verseidag-Indutex
Photography: John Lewis Marshall, copyrighted
Gross floor area: 190 m2