Pop restoration

Innovative with its colourful interiors, rigorous in its restoration. This is how Benthem Crouwel Architects have refurbished a historic house in Amsterdam

The motto of the Dutch architects Benthem Crouwel Architects is ‘Beyond Architecture’, which in their view should always be innovative, responsible, connective and mixed. This was the starting point for our chat with Mels Crouwel, partner in the practice and at the same time client for the renovation of Vijzelgracht House in Amsterdam. In addition to the design of a simple single-family house, what is there? For while it is true that the aspect of innovation is particularly clear in this intervention, the other qualities are harder to discern at a glance. His answer leaves no room for doubt. “As always in our works, here we have dealt with all four issues,” explains the a rchitect. “The theme of innovation has to do with the new technologies utilized, like the 3D printed pattern of the floor in the entrance and the techniques used for insulation, heating and wiring. Connectivity is linked to the relationship with the newly designed garden and the glasshouse extension at the back of the house. Responsibility regards the preservation of the historic building and as much original material as possible. Mixed can be found in the use of traditional and new materials and colours.”

The living room on the first floor. Panes of coloured glass from 3M’s series of Dichroic Glass Finishes screen the stairs; Slow Chairs by the Bouroullec brothers for Vitra. Hanging, the Bubble Chair designed by Eero Aarnio in 1968. Sculpture by Jan de Cock and, on the wall, a work by Richard Woods. (ph. Jannes Linders) The living room on the first floor. Panes of coloured glass from 3M’s series of Dichroic Glass Finishes screen the stairs; Slow Chairs by the Bouroullec brothers for Vitra. Hanging, the Bubble Chair designed by Eero Aarnio in 1968. Sculpture by Jan de Cock and, on the wall, a work by Richard Woods. (ph. Jannes Linders)
View of the living room, showing the wooden stairs and the custom-made walnut table. Womb settee by Eero Saarinen, Knoll. (ph. Jannes Linders) View of the living room, showing the wooden stairs and the custom-made walnut table. Womb settee by Eero Saarinen, Knoll. (ph. Jannes Linders)
A view of the entrance. Durabella Seamless Terrazzo Floor from Duracryl with a pattern designed by the architects. On the wall, a painting by Marijke van Warmerdam. (ph. Jannes Linders) A view of the entrance. Durabella Seamless Terrazzo Floor from Duracryl with a pattern designed by the architects. On the wall, a painting by Marijke van Warmerdam. (ph. Jannes Linders)
The dining room. Slim table from Arco, Result chairs designed in the 1950s by Friso Kramer and Wim Rietveld, brought out again by Hay, W151 suspension lamp from Wastberg. (ph. Jannes Linders) The dining room. Slim table from Arco, Result chairs designed in the 1950s by Friso Kramer and Wim Rietveld, brought out again by Hay, W151 suspension lamp from Wastberg. (ph. Jannes Linders)
One of the studies on the first floor, lined with walnut. (ph. Jannes Linders) One of the studies on the first floor, lined with walnut. (ph. Jannes Linders)
A view of the master bathroom. Not Only White washbasin, BetteStarlet Oval Silhouette tub, Axor Citterio taps and fittings from Hansgrohe. The highest level of the house is illuminated by the bright shades of the vinyl facing from Arte International that mediate the slope of the roof. (ph. Jannes Linders) A view of the master bathroom. Not Only White washbasin, BetteStarlet Oval Silhouette tub, Axor Citterio taps and fittings from Hansgrohe. The highest level of the house is illuminated by the bright shades of the vinyl facing from Arte International that mediate the slope of the roof. (ph. Jannes Linders)
The landing of the stairs on the top floor. (ph. Jannes Linders) The landing of the stairs on the top floor. (ph. Jannes Linders)
The front façade. (ph. Jannes Linders) The front façade. (ph. Jannes Linders)
The entrance from the garden with the conservatory on the façade. (ph. Jannes Linders). The entrance from the garden with the conservatory on the façade. (ph. Jannes Linders).
The passage between the two studies on the first floor. (ph. Jannes Linders) The passage between the two studies on the first floor. (ph. Jannes Linders)
The study in the conservatory with Pyramid table from Hay and Flag Hayard armchair designed in the 1950s by Hans J. Wegner, PP Møbler. (ph. Jannes Linders) The study in the conservatory with Pyramid table from Hay and Flag Hayard armchair designed in the 1950s by Hans J. Wegner, PP Møbler. (ph. Jannes Linders)
1. Basement entrance; 2. Studio; 3. Bedroom; 4. Bathroom; 5. Toilet; 6. Garden; 7. Main entrance; 8. Dining room; 9. Kitchen; 10. Pantry; 11. Living room. 1. Basement entrance; 2. Studio; 3. Bedroom; 4. Bathroom; 5. Toilet; 6. Garden; 7. Main entrance; 8. Dining room; 9. Kitchen; 10. Pantry; 11. Living room.

Vijzelgracht is the name of the street in Amsterdam on which the building stands, and it is part of a group of 17th-century weaver’s houses that in 2015 ran the risk of disappearing owing to the fragility of their foundations, which were literally crumbling away. The firm’s idea was to bring a piece of the city’s history back to life through the revitalization of this single house. The project envisaged on the one hand recovery of all the original parts, eliminating any alteration or addition made over time, and on the other the introduction of new elements able to make the place suitable for contemporary living. In the courtyard once used for storage, for example, there is now a sort of conservatory that serves to illuminate and ventilate the rooms, created thanks to the difference in level of around eighty centimetres from that of the street.

The landing of the stairs on the top floor. (ph. Jannes Linders)
The landing of the stairs on the top floor. (ph. Jannes Linders)

“The building has a width of eight metres, and not five like the typical houses on the canals of Amsterdam,” comments Crouwel. “This dimension permits good internal illumination.” Laid out on four storeys, the house’s living area is on the ground and first floors. Colour is entrusted with the task of characterizing the different spaces: darker and more traditional shades in the lower parts, brighter ones on the upper floors, defined in part by the marked inclination of the roof. “It is the architect’s responsibility to hold a dialogue with the city,” concludes Crouwel. “Only in this way can he offer solutions accepted and appreciated by the community.”


Abitare © All rights reserved

Living

Living
e$title Living
下载最新版住