It is an evident fact that environmental issues have taken a hike in the past few years. Global warming, for instance, increased at a pace no one imagined and is more likely to go up even more. But do these problems hinder the path we take to design our spaces? and if yes, then how to handle it? Of course, the answer is yes, and Woonpioniers, a Dutch design studio, has intelligently responded to these questions in their project South House located in Almere city.

This Netherlands-based residential project is all about the amalgamation of various environmental features, the schedule of the day, and the local climate. It is quite interesting to see how this approach resulted in a space inviting the outdoors in with an integrated energy plan via special software. And one of the first things anyone notices is the house-wide sliding door in the middle that merges the house and the garden at the front, letting you experience life outdoors. Interestingly, the full-width sliding door automatically increases the area for the kitchen and the bedroom space giving them an infinite distance of view range as well.

Moreover, they have taken the criterion of sustainability, that is, choice of the materials or smart technology and installations, beyond and above. Starting from the very initial conceptual sketches, the architect David Venneman fixated on the basic principles of energy a house necessitates that could be achieved by passive methodology. And these holistic methods adequately fulfilled the requirements of heating, cooling, and other energy needs, all passively. This makes the user self-sufficient, fully or partially, without the reliance on outer connections.

The triangular form of the house is hard to miss however, it does more than being just a shape. The orientation and placement of the triangular block are strategically designed with a striking verandah to not only maximize the shade as the temperature goes up but also to capture the solar heat for winters. Besides, a soft light brushes up the ceilings of Zuidhuis (South House) through the openings in the sidewalls during the morning and evening. So it is safe to say that this house is for all, all seasons, all hours of the day, and is a design that keeps life balanced.

South House flaunts its ragged finished yet comfortable sand cement floor that absorbs the warmth and acts as an accumulator of heat and releases the same as the temperature drops. Another design element worth noticing is the solar panels on the rooftop that are responsible for the electricity and hot tap water available in the house. To be more specific, the panels have photovoltaic cells at the front, and a thermal exchanger connected to the heat pumps at the rear. Fascinating to see is that the installation is neither visible to the eyes nor audible to the ears. Also, these intelligent features are well hidden in between the spectacular design.

Woonpioniers have majorly put all the space necessities on the ground floor of the house. However, amongst the most notable design aspects of the South House is the lazy staircase that takes you to the floor above. This life-cycle-proof structure has music space and a guest suite on the upper floor.

Zuidhuis showcases a buffet of bio-based natural-elements. Additionally, some materials in the interiors that have been taken from the old house that the clients own, is yet another golden feature. And we cannot deny, or nobody can deny that this house keeps you intrigued with its fundamentals, stories, facts, and the thoughtful design route it has taken to shape up to be the extraordinary architecture piece that it is.

Daniel Venneman and Woonpioniers managed to execute this environment-friendly home that is worth studying. And it is inspiring to see the climate, the landscape, and the lifestyle of the inhabitants as the protagonists of the concept behind the design. Energy Architecture in practice, as the people at the studio call it, sure made a bold yet the most elegant solution to the problems our world is fighting.

Woonpioniers believes in giving healthy architecture back to the residents and the life surrounding us. Moreover, all of their projects, including South House, display a comprehensive approach towards a healthy environment. And they support this approach by mixing collectivity, modularity, use of bio-based material, energy architecture, and landscape.

Brief- South House or Zuidhuis (in Dutch), completed in 2019, has 127 m2 gross surface area and 95 m2 net surface area and finished at 300,000 euros. Standing on concrete piles, this house is located in Almere, the Netherlands, and was designed by architect Daniel Venneman and project architect Wouter Bak. And the gripping interiors we see are pulled off by the clients themselves.

'South house' in the Netherlands merges exterior & interior designed by Woonpioniers
A unique indoor-outdoor relationship achieved by the South House ©Henny Van Belkom

When Tanya was little, she’d spend hours, weaving stories. Not much has changed since then, except the imagination changed to reality. When she is not writing, you’ll find her engrossed in reading books, Mandala, dancing, or some DIY project. If not here, then she must be in the kitchen, munching.

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