The site is part of the ‘Kop van Zuid’ redevelopment as a southern part of the city centre. The house occupies a plot in one of three rows of seven terraced houses each. It occupies a void that exists between the two neighbouring homes.

Studio Name: MONOLAB Architects
Project: Body House
Design Team: Jan Willem van Kuilenburg, Luc Veeger, Walter Hoogerwerf, with Tom Huth.
Area: 156 m2.
Year: 2005.
Location: Walhallalaan 94, Rotterdam, Netherlands.
Consultants: Ove Arup London, K-constructies Rotterdam, Stream Rotterdam.
Photography Credits: MONOLAB architects
Other Credits: Paula Colenbrander and Tijs van Ruiten (clients).

Body House by MONOLAB Architects - Sheet4
©MONOLAB architects

The clients wished cooking & dining at the heart of the house. The design is an urban stack of three small and very contrasting projects that co-operate intensely by means of a mediator: a 3-dimensional body. Below is a fixed, interiorized, dark, heavy, concrete plinth with patio in the back. On top is the roof terrace as ‘campsite’, with a light and flexible tent. In-between is the void with the body as a steel frame that forms a facetted shape. To keep the living as open as possible, all programs that would obstruct the void are absorbed in the body and located in the plinth. During the design process the body frame connected itself to the plinth and the roof.

Body House by MONOLAB Architects - Sheet6
©MONOLAB architects

It was shaped to contains various programs and logistics, and to upgrade the qualities of the void around. The result is a faceted body of which parts are covered with different types of skin: metal grill, glass, particle sheet with epoxy coating and synthetic fabric. The body contains the cooking & dining space, and it also absorbs programs that in a loose lay-out would disrupt the open character of the living space, like trajectories for cables, pipes and ducts, heating and ventilation systems, stairs, toilets, and the bathroom.

Body House by MONOLAB Architects - Sheet8
©MONOLAB architects

The body contacts the outside world by four wooden devices: a pivoting facade slab which serves as the entry, a flipping door towards the patio, a tilting plank towards the terrace on top of the patio, and a shifting plateau (as a potential sleeping place) to the roof. The body attached itself in the big facade opening at the front and deformed itself. It is pulled in and pushed out by the body. Three facets are glazed, the one below directed onto the closer context (the park), the one in the centre focusing westward onto the river, and the upper one spreading out to frame the ever-changing Rotterdam skyline.


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