Villa Meijendel

Villa Meijendel takes its name from the nature reserve in which it is located, where a forest meets a valley of dunes. The house is constructed from concrete and set into the side of a sandy slope. The building's design aims to create a dialogue with its surroundings, both through the way the form and materials engage with the landscape, and through the use of glass to provide views out from and into the house. 

The boxy geometric structure is entirely clad in charred timber, creating a textured black surface that appears different depending on how sunlight falls on it. The exterior finish, inspired by the ancient Japanese shou sugi ban technique, also helps to preserve the wood. Sometimes the house is almost invisible against the dark edge of the forest, sometimes it sparkles in the sunlight because of the glittering charred wood, as such forming a background for the play of shadows of tree trunks and branches. The villa hides and reveals itself in the landscape.

The property has its entrance on a middle level accommodating an office and two bedrooms. Stairs ascend to an open-plan kitchen and living space, and drop down to a master bedroom and gym room.

The living room features a full-height corner window that looks out through the trees towards the dune valley. A lower window facing to the rear and a large glazed surface lining the adjacent double-height circulation area face out onto the forest. At the far end of the first floor, sliding glass doors lead out from the kitchen onto a terrace.

The material palette –concrete, steel and anodised aluminium– was chosen to complement the tones and textures of the surrounding environment. Each material is applied in a raw, untreated form. Internally, the walls are finished with smooth concrete, while the rough-sawn Douglas fir beams supporting the ceilings feature a distinctive grain.

West 8, Adriaan Geuze, is responsible for the garden design.

Photography is by Christian van der Kooy

Related

The Kanaalpark is an office area along the Vliet on the south side of Leiden. Here, two apartment buildings are being built for starters.

Many offices in this area have long been vacant and the area looks messy and dated. The municipality of Leiden has challenged developers to take the initiative to transform the site into a high-quality living-work area. That glove is being picked up. Some offices are being converted into apartments, others are being demolished and replaced by residential buildings. Viable office owners are making a quality improvement. The municipality has drawn up an ambitious plan for the redesign of the public space.

Commissioned by the Leidse Vastgoed Maatschappij we have designed two apartment buildings for starters on the labor market. Block 1 with 88 apartments is being built on the site of an old office building. Block 2 with 41 apartments will be built on an existing parking lot. The buildings have been carefully integrated into the urban design and complete the structure of closed building blocks. Height accents are determined in conjunction with the environment. The blocks are architecturally parceled, in line with the already completed housing construction.

The plan ‘de Biezenhof’ is part of the new residential area ‘Waterrijk Woerden’ and is situated along a natural watery region. The urban scheme of ‘Waterrijk Woerden’ was designed by West 8 and refers to the traditional Dutch water cities such as Delft and Leiden. The design is made in collabiation with Klunder architects. Almost every dwelling is individual and has a specific connection to the water.

The plan of Biezenhof is divided in two parts: there is one block of family houses around a courtyard on the edge of the lake, and there is a row of water houses and apartments along a canal.

The buyers of the houses could choose between several types of houses as well as between four architects. Due to the possibilities in combining type and architect, not one house is the same. Every house has a singular character: the lake houses have a beautiful view on the lake, the street houses have a garden, and the canal houses enclose big terraces. In the public space there are a few parking places, the majority of parking places are organised in garages.

The houses designed by Knappers are characteristic because of the huge roof overhanging the façade. This contributes to the shelter-against-the water identity of the houses, and refers to the greenhouse glass constructions in the low lands. At the street side these houses are made of brick, which gives them a closed and open (to the light and the water) individuality.

The ‘Oud Woelwijk’ farm, the oldest part of which dates from before 1528, was still standing at the beginning of the 20th century in a sea of lands and bushes to the south of the village center of Voorschoten. The farm formed an ensemble with the country estate of Roucoop. The country estate no longer exists, and from 1930 the built-up area has been advanced. Yet the Essenlaan is still a protected leafy lane that leads to the old farm. For a plot directly on the other side of the farm, we have made a design for a contemporary energy-neutral home. The single-storey house with hood is designed as an outbuilding of the farm. You reach the plot via a bridge that cuts through the historic woods at a clever location. A very spacious home has been designed partly due to a number of voids. The volume is still closed on the farm side. On the south side, the house opens to the large garden.

The house from the beginning of the 20th century was originally the staff residence of the adjacent main house “Malgre tout”. The main house and staff house are seen as examples of the development of country estates in the municipality. As an ensemble, the buildings and the surrounding gardens are of great cultural-historical value. The ensemble has the status of a national monument. The carefully detailed house is built in red brick under a thatched wolf roof. The staff house originally included a garage, horsestables and a driver's house.

In 2018, a design was made for the restoration and modernization of the service residence including a modern extension. A large living room and kitchen will be realized in the extension. A veranda will be added to the extension. Living room and veranda offer a view of a beautiful Hortensia garden. The extension is completely transparent on the side of the garden. On the other side, the extension is embraced by an openwork masonry wall. The wall becomes more transparent towards the edges. By using a heat pump installation with a source, high-quality insulation, and by completely filling the roof of the extension with solar panels, the service house will soon be completely energy neutral.