Engel Architects

Residence High Pines

In the Kerckebosch neighborhood of Zeist, Engel Architects recently completed a striking residence. The design of the house is closely matched to the positions, colors and textures of the existing pine trees on the lot.

Bordering the Utrechtse Heuvelrug is residential area Kerckebosch in Zeist. The home is situated on a corner lot, along the edge of the High Pines subdivision. The subplan is characterized by the forest-like environment characteristic of Zeist and borders a newly created open heathland area. The image quality plan prescribes homes with a modern look and a steeply pitched roof. To optimally position the house on the lot, the trees on the lot were mapped. Efforts were made to maintain as many trees as possible and integrate them into the design. To maximize the view toward the garden and create the largest possible rear garden, the volume is situated along the main axis of the road, as close to the building line as possible.

The program is divided into four volumes strung together by an elongated horizontal canopy. The two tall volumes accommodate the main functions and are separated by a full-length skylight that extends over two floors. This allows daylight to reach deep into the home without direct sunlight coming in. On the second floor, the two volumes are connected by a walkway, which is completely enclosed by the skylight. The canopy connects the four volumes and provides ample space for covered parking and also accommodates the entrance and a covered patio. In addition, awnings keep sunlight from directly entering the home in the summer and keep the home cool, as opposed to the winter months when the opposite is desired.

The front and rear of the two tall volumes as well as the garage are set at a 6º angle. The plot plan had a requirement that the house be provided with a pitched roof, where the clients’ desire was for a modern flat-roofed house. By sloping the facades, the facades can also be read as a roof.

Openings are placed so that the relationship with the outside is enhanced as much as possible and privacy is maintained. Deep negges accentuate the facade openings on the upper floors. The deep daylights frame the view of the surrounding green surroundings, while also providing a sense of privacy by optically increasing the distance between inside and outside. The amount of north-facing glass has been limited to reduce heat loss. At the rear of the houses, two sliding doors offer the possibility of opening the façade to a large extent, thus bringing the terraces outside to the sitting room and dining room. Power generation is provided by solar panels installed on the roof of the home. By carefully shaping the roof uprights and keeping them a bit lower at the back, the panels are hidden from view without affecting the incidence of light on the PV panels.

The 3 sloping volumes are constructed of Petersen brand ceramic slate tiles, type C91. The ceramic covers from which the majority of the facades are constructed blend flawlessly with the wooded surroundings in terms of color and texture. By using a light color scheme, the surrounding trees draw beautiful shadows on the facades when the sun falls on the house. The wood storage and garden walls are constructed of a long-form Kolumba brick by Petersen in the same color shade to emphasize the monolithic character of the home. The two low garden walls accentuate the routing to the main entrance and create intimacy at the terrace on the southwest side of the house. The elongated canopy, window frames and wood trim on the plinth feature semi-transparent lacquered wood in a reddish-brown color to counterbalance the sleek distinct character of the home. The colors used are consistent with the wooded area where the home is located.

Photography: Marcel van de Burg

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