Goethe once wrote: “architecture is frozen music”. But for Taminiau this didn’t feel right. Architecture is not frozen or static, it’s dynamic, you enter a building, move through a building, the sun(light) and shadows change constantly , sometimes you see rain falling , the people (and vegetation) usingthe building are all moving and even the building could be moved by simply opening a window or a door.

Name: Rhythm House
Architect: Julius Taminiau Architects
Photo credits: Norbert Wunderling
Project completed: 2020
Contractor: Aannemer Volendam
Contractor interior: Stano Renovatie
Structural Engineer: Olde Hanter Bouwconstructies
Client: Private

Rhythm House By Julius Taminiau Architects - Sheet4
©Norbert Wunderling

What then is the relation between music and architecture? Music in its broadest definition is organised sound. Architecture is in that same broad sense organised light. Music has – like architecture – proportion, composition and structure. Architecture needs – like music – rhythm, melody and soul. Architecture is music experienced through another sense.

This  was  the  starting  point  for  Rhythm  House,  to  approach  architecture  like music, but instead of using sound, using light; Rhythm House as an instrument played by the sun.

During the rhythm of the day and the 4 seasons the views, weather, light and shadows change constantly. It makes you more aware of, appreciative and in line with  the  rhythms  of  nature.  The  (rhythmic)  open  timber  cladding, the careful (melodic) placement of large and small windows – sometimes (partially) concealed behind the open cladding – , the double height spaces, the rhythmic staircase,  the  open  rhythmic  mezzanine  floors  and  balustrades  provide  the “musical scores” for the house.

The house is designed to deal with summers which are getting warmer every year. To prevent the need for air conditioning multiple windows could be opened. Some doors and windows are concealed behind the cladding. These doors and windows can be opened and used for (cross) ventilation in summer (also in the evenings) whilst providing shading and preventing people and animals freely getting inside.

Rhythm House By Julius Taminiau Architects - Sheet5
©Norbert Wunderling

Since we couldn’t find a timber cladding which we thought would be adequate, we developed our own cladding material. The rough sawn timber is treated with a rest product from sugar cane production and afterwards placed on aluminum bars to dry. Signs of the aluminium bars are still visible after the timber dries and gives  the  timber,  next  to  the  rough  sawn  quality,  character.  In  the  factory, normally the timber would be sawn twice and planed (and get a consistent and clean look). We wanted to cut out this planing process and asked the factory to cut the raw timber directly into smaller pieces. In doing so, we cut out two steps of the production process, retaining the material’s raw character, but also making the cladding cheaper.

The idea behind the floorplan is to make it superflexible in order to adapt to changing  (family)  needs.  In  some  sort  of  sense  it’s  inspired  by  a  warehouse, divided by a central staircase. On the ground floor are 2 double height spaces next to  both  sides  of  the  central  staircase/circulation  area. The ceiling height is 5 meters. For the sake of flexibility steel angle beams (including fixing points at every 10 cm)  have been placed at a height of 2.5 meters, on which a (mezzanine) floor  can  easily  and  quickly  be  made,  extended  or  removed.  In  this  way  it  is possible to adapt to the family needs over many years (possibly generations) and the rhythm of the family. On the second floor 3 bedrooms are situated, all having double height spaces and (mezzanine) floors are placed on steel angle beams as well. There is a small roof terrace which connects the mezzanine floors of the bedrooms.

Rhythm House By Julius Taminiau Architects - Sheet6
©Norbert Wunderling

The house is built entirely of wood, except from the concrete foundation. The heat pump, together with the 30 carefully integrated solar panels, ventilation with heat recovery, shower drains with heat recovery, airtightness and extra thick insulation ensure very low energy consumption. The house is fully electric.

With the wooden house we have tried to provide an appropriate contextual and social answer to our societal contemporary problems without losing sight of aesthetics and making architecture which is durable, timeless and hopefully beloved for many years.

The house is situated near the old borough of Sloten (part of Amsterdam) and is part of a small self-building scheme. The house is at the end of a small row of 3 houses. At the Sloterweg formerly mainly timber houses and farms were situated. Because of the more background location of the house, it seemed logical to us to position  the  house  as  a  kind  of  modest  outbuilding.  The  melodic  window composition,  rhythmic  play  of  the  facade  cladding,  minimalist  detailing  and sustainable materialization make the house a modern variant of the historic wooden houses in the area.

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