House N by Rotterdam-based architectural firm Maxwan is a reinterpretation of a residence initially built eight decades ago in Noordwijk, The Netherlands. By preserving the character of the original building affected by weather condition over time, the architects developed a welcoming family home subtly blending rustic features with the comfort of modern living. The thatched roof is the most distinctive characteristic of House N, easily making the residence stand out in its neighborhood.
According to the architects, aside from the roof replacement and basement repairs, the renovation project implied enlarging the bedrooms, bathrooms and windows, as well as adding a new kitchen and a social area: “Extending into the back garden with floor-to-ceiling glass on three sides is the new living room, which maximizes light and views from among the treetops towards the garden and further out to the sea. In the opposite direction stretches the new kitchen, incorporated in a single pre-ecast concrete block. Its color contrasts to the existing house while harmonizing with the surroundings.” Another inspiring design addition to the project was a bespoke staircase, which we invite you to discover in the photos below.
What is new and exciting now can quickly begin to look tired and out of fashion, so the best buildings don’t just consider what will be interesting to look at now, but also how it might look to people in five, fifty or even a hundred years’ time. 2013’s hotly contested RIBA Stirling Prize went to Witherford Watson Mann Architects for their work on Astley Castle, Warwickshire. In what RIBA Past President Stephen Hodder has described as an extreme retrofit, the project essentially saw a new building inserted subtly into the heart of the old, with a new, two storey residence now hidden within the sandstone walls of the ruins of this medieval castle, to be used as a holiday home for up to eight guests
The best architects can create designs which will give clients and the public things they didn’t even realise they wanted, and this is especially important when architects are given the difficult brief of creating structures in much-loved, iconic areas.