Villa X in Klein-Brabant, Netherlands by Barcode Architects

Villa X combines solid and void in a geometrically minimalistic composition. Based on the clients’ desires for both openness and privacy, Barcode Architects designed a living space that blends seamlessly with the garden, as well as enclosed rooms that would allow the couple to “close the door”.

Simplicity, material quality, and a contemporary appearance were key aspects of the design. To achieve optimal sun exposure and maximize the size of the garden, the villa is conceived as a single elongated box. The front and back facades are folded inwards, providing covered exterior space while maintaining the volume’s geometric purity.

A public-private transition is thus created at the front, and a protected terrace at the back. Seen from outside, the solid-void composition can clearly be read. A long transparent façade encloses the open living space – the “void” – and two closed concrete blocks at both ends mark the “solid” private spaces, which contain the guest and private living quarters. The fully glazed façade opens the living area towards the garden, and allows the changing daylight to animate the space.

The “solid” private spaces are clad in anthracite concrete, which is detailed to be at once massive, subtle and refined. Hefty 12-ton 11m x 3m precast concrete side walls give a sense of weight and protective solidity, while the smooth, reflective finish – achieved by multiple layers of hand-polishing – gives a delicate and luxurious effect. A malleable and ductile quality is suggested by the protruding guest room window; it is cast into the wall, appearing to have been pulled out from an elastic surface.

The villa’s corners are exact and sharp. The 15cm-thick concrete walls come together in a thin 10mm gap, and the angled geometry of the front and back facades makes the walls appear as though they were accurately scored and folded. Inside, the private zones have an intimate atmosphere with rooms that each have their own identity: from the “surrealist” Escher-inspired restroom to the sunny yellow guest bathroom. Contained between the two dark “solid” ends, the central “void” is a bright and airy living space.

A direct view to the garden is offered by a fully glazed façade with frames hidden in the floor and ceiling. Sunlight is reflected by the white ceiling and walls, and by the light resin floor. The space is completely open, with only two freestanding core furniture elements that define the entrance, living, dining and kitchen zones. One is a tactile linear element with curved edges and a smooth, dark-stained bamboo finish, echoing the aged beech tree outside. It integrates building installations, storage space, a TV, and a fireplace. Continuing above the roof, it visually anchors the building.

The second core element is rectilinear and T-shaped. It defines the entrance, dining area and kitchen, and features black-stained oak cabinetry. These two wood elements add warmth and an intimate scale to the overall light and open living area. From this protected yet transparent space, the couple can vividly experience the garden as it changes throughout the seasons.

Photography by Christian van der Kooy

Add a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *