The grass- and marshlands of the Botshol is a nature reserve and a unique habitat for extraordinary plants (wild orchids, rare marsh plants, cotton grass, holly-leaved naiad, stonewort, bog spurge) and birds (the buzzard, the harrier, the cormorant, the bittern, the red-crested pochard, the spoonbill).

address: Botshol, the Netherlands
design: NIO architecten, Rotterdam
client: Private person
delegated client and building management: RECC, Vinkeveen
building contractor: D. Kroese bv, Vinkeveen
structural engineer: Cumae, Arnhem
design team: Maurice Nio, Arek Seredyn
start design: 2003
completion: 2005 (pavilion) – 2007 (house)
building costs: € 220.000 (pavilion)

Paradise For Two by NIO architecten - Sheet3
©NIO architecten

It lies slightly secluded, like an oasis in the middle of the Randstad. That it is not allowed to build in the Botshol speaks for itself, but also in the surrounding area of the Ronde Venen there are strict regulations on new housing and partial renovations to existing farmhouses. Thus much stays the same. Here, the trick would be to realize something that would observe the current wants and needs of residents while simultaneously adhering to the new plans for the environment (the surrounding area of the Botshol has been designated a natural development zone, with its agricultural functions being phased out in favour of natural, wet marshlands as a consequence).

Paradise For Two by NIO architecten - Sheet5
©NIO architecten

Just there, where the stern lay-out of the moorlands borders the new biome and eerie landscape of the Botshol, lies a garden whose inside world does not reveal itself. Like the Botshol, the garden’s interior is secluded, and presents, just as sovereignly, only its green edges to the outside world. All but invisible to the outside, two buildings stand, a farmhouse and an annex that were due some renovation. In line with the heart of the garden, which is cultivated and somewhat like a paradise, the renovation was put to use to bolster the place’s unexpected atmosphere.

Paradise For Two by NIO architecten - Sheet8
©NIO architecten

The design’s foundation are two distinct roofs made out of zinc, under which the various rooms are casually placed. One part is now complete: the annex has been transformed into a pavilion. The zinc roof lies determinedly diagonal on the square wooden building. The roof joists fan out, as if trying to mimic the pattern of the nearby Vinkeveense Plassen, and the dark stained wooden deck is elevated relative to the surface level, making it seem like the building is floating above the garden. The pavilion’s image is new and perhaps unexpected, yet eventually just as natural and graceful as a cormorant in the Botshol.

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