Paul de Ruiter Architects’ Villa Kogelhof has been awarded the ARC13 Architecture prize, given to projects wherein the usage and the technology are aligned in an innovative manner, aiming to strengthen sustainability as an integral part of architecture. Villa Kogelhof was nominated alongside three other projects out of a record 110 entries.
The jury report said: “Villa Kogelhof is the unorthodox accommodation for an ambitious client with an unique architecture. The uncompromising design is a spartan interior coupled with a view of the stunning surrounding landscape of Zeeland. In addition, the villa makes a statement within a world of sustainability which is usually associated with eco-conscious tree huggers: but why should sustainability be no Prada?”
The 25 hectare Villa Kogelhof estate is part of a larger program initiated by the government, which aims to connect regional ecological zones throughout the Netherlands. The current owner bought the site, once farmland, in 2006. It is a protected habitat for animals and plants and a major tourist draw in the area, open to the public. Permission to build a house on the land was given only on condition that the land was returned to its pre-agricultural state. A rectangular pond was dug, requiring the removal of 70,000 cubic metres of soil. “The planting of some 71,000 six-year-old trees hint at the future of the estate as ‘a villa in the woods’ and were planted already in 2006.” says Paul de Ruiter Architects.
The underground volume of the house consists of the entrance, parking (for 6 cars and a tractor), storage, bathroom and a workspace which looks out over the pond. The living area is situated in the floating glass box above ground. It’s floor plan is completely open, except for some subtle glass room dividers. There are several seperate volumes for the kitchen, bedrooms, bathroom and a multifunctional room. The patio has glass doors on both sides, so that it’s both accessible through the living room and the bathroom. The entire floor is covered with white epoxy and the furniture consists of desiger classics from Le Corbusier and Eileen Grey. The façade is completely made out of glass and offers a spectacular view over the surrounding landscape.