Architecture, as its use, provides shelter and comfort to people. Moreover, it is also a form of art that is aesthetically pleasing to the eyes, especially if it is inclined to nature. Architecture in nature sounds unusual, making it more captivating and appealing to one’s eyes. In the Netherlands, several houses on the dunes may look typical but are interesting because of their design and build.
Architecture in nature
The Dutch design firm Unknown Architects built a vacation home that resembles a log cabin. It includes panoramic windows that allow refreshing views of the dunes and hills in the area. The House in the Dunes is inspired by the Terschelling houses in the Wadden Islands. It features a steeply pitched roof and a straightforward cross-laminated timber and steel frame. Although the home appears to be a straightforward cabin from a distance, Amsterdam-based Unknown Architects dug the building’s concrete base into the sand to add a second floor and a covered patio area. The house aspires to be simple yet artistic. Utilizing the dune topography, they constructed a larger lower ground floor with two bedrooms, a bathroom, storage space, and a technical area.
A concrete base, a core shape of cross-laminated timber and steel encircled by expansive wood-framed windows, and a high, asymmetrically pitched roof covered in Accoya wood boards comprise the final structure. The window frames and roof boards blend into the surroundings as they age gradually. This is because these materials were chosen for their simplicity of construction and the way they will age and weather over time. Most of the house is prefabricated to speed up building on site and minimize disruption to the neighborhood. The ground floor and roof construction are made of CLT, making this the first CLT building in Terschelling.
The components of the pigmented concrete base were cast in a foundry. The high-pitched skylit ceiling and 360-degree views in the plywood-lined living area of House in the Dunes give the impression that you are in the landscape. Under the windows, a built-in seat wraps around the interior and serves as storage. A central wooden block divides the kitchen and baths from the living area. This also creates a mezzanine level below the roof’s skylight. The broad overhanging roof of House in the Dunes and the removable wooden shutters, along with ventilation grilles built into the timber window frames, all prevent overheating.
As if they had carved the house, the environment’s dominant natural forces—the sea, the sun, and the regional wind patterns—determine its design. As a result, the resulting architectural object is peculiar and is perceived in a peculiar way from each side. The house is completely covered in sand, effectively concealing it in its surroundings. The textures and colors of the landscape served as the basis for the material selection for the project. The architects selected the colors based on the surrounding gray, ochre, brown, and green tones. We limited ourselves to four fundamental colors to ensure that nothing in the design would feel out of place.
Below, the white-finished bedrooms, bathroom, and foyer frame views of the sand dunes with smaller square windows. 2012 saw the establishment of Unknown Architects by Daan Vulkers and Keimpke Zigterman. One of the studio’s earlier projects is refurbishing an apartment building in Amsterdam. Where red-painted steel columns were employed to free up several formerly cramped living rooms. The beach cottage by Amsterdam-based Marc Koehler Architects has a crystalline form covered in a combination of glass and red cedar. It sits in Terschelling’s sand dunes. Architecture in nature is pleasing to the eyes and transcends the refreshing feeling for the house occupants and visitors.