written by:
photos by:
August 17, 2011
Originally published in Japan Style

With House 2.0, architect Pieter Weijnen demonstrates the exponential rate at which green design is advancing.

Charred wood facade of a modern house in The Netherlands
The striking black facade of Pieter Weijnen's new home is the result of the Japanese practice of charring wood. Weijnen, an architect at the Amsterdam firm Faro, first discovered charred wood through the work of Terunobu Fujimori and later traveled to the Japanese island of Naoshima to observe the traditional technique.
Photo by 
Courtesy of 
I See For You © Föllmi Photography
1 / 6
Modern Japanese-style house with charred wood siding
Burning the top one-eighth inch of each wood board is a natural way to preserve the timber and (paradoxically) make it fire resistant. Chemical preservatives, paints, and retardants are thus unnecessary. A further plus is the silvery beauty of the charred finish.
Photo by 
Courtesy of 
I See For You © Föllmi Photography
2 / 6
Wood charring traditional Japanese technique
Though traditionally, three Japanese cedar boards are bound to form a long triangle and a fire is started within the resulting tunnel, Weijnen built a brick oven to accommodate two six-foot-long larch wood boards at a time when he charred his wood in Amsterdam. After removing the planks from the brick oven, Weijnen doused them with water if the fires didn't go out on their own. He used his less successful pieces in the kitchen ceiling.
Photo by 
Courtesy of 
I See For You © Föllmi Photography
3 / 6
Modern Japanese-style house made of recycled elm wood
As in House 1.0, House 2.0 relies on recycled wood for support–—notably, two enormous former mooring posts of basralocus wood and an entire elm tree, which supports the suspended living room.
Photo by 
Courtesy of 
I See For You © Föllmi Photography
4 / 6
DIY wall adobe plasters
Weijnen used adobe plaster in nearly all the rooms of the house. It's an ideal material for passive houses as it can absorb and release moisture and heat exceptionally well.
Photo by 
Courtesy of 
I See For You © Föllmi Photography
5 / 6
Outdoor donQi wind turbine
Visions of the Dutch landscape are speckled with wind mills. There, wind turbines are also called wind mills, and at House 2.0, the Weijnen's mill produces one-third of the house’s annual electricity.
Photo by 
Courtesy of 
I See For You © Föllmi Photography
6 / 6
Charred wood facade of a modern house in The Netherlands
The striking black facade of Pieter Weijnen's new home is the result of the Japanese practice of charring wood. Weijnen, an architect at the Amsterdam firm Faro, first discovered charred wood through the work of Terunobu Fujimori and later traveled to the Japanese island of Naoshima to observe the traditional technique. Image courtesy of I See For You © Föllmi Photography.
Project 
House 2.0
Architect 

For architect Pieter Weijnen of Amsterdam firm Faro, building his own low-energy home (featured in our July/August 2008 issue) was just the start. A year later, he broke ground on a new home for himself, partner Renske Felkema, and their children, Puck and Finn.

House 2.0, located on the manmade archipel­ago of IJburg, fine-tunes the design of the first house, but it goes further in energy efficiency and sustainability: “It’s a passive house,” says Weijnen. “We’ve got the biggest triple-glazed window in the Netherlands and a geothermal heating ex­change system. There is a wood-burning stove; a rainwater tank; and—a bit unusual for the city—a wind turbine on the roof.” Add to this a whole tree used instead of a girder, adobe walls instead of plaster, and a charred-wood facade, and it’s clear that this isn’t your run-of-the-mill eco-house. “You have to take risks once in a while,” says Weijnen.

Charred Wood

Wood charring traditional Japanese technique
Though traditionally, three Japanese cedar boards are bound to form a long triangle and a fire is started within the resulting tunnel, Weijnen built a brick oven to accommodate two six-foot-long larch wood boards at a time when he charred his wood in Amsterdam. After removing the planks from the brick oven, Weijnen doused them with water if the fires didn't go out on their own. He used his less successful pieces in the kitchen ceiling. Image courtesy of I See For You © Föllmi Photography.

 
House 2.0’s distinctive wood siding uses the traditional Japanese technique of burned wood, a natural way to preserve timber and (paradoxically) make it fire resistant. Chemical preservatives, paints, and retardants are thus unnecessary. A further plus is the silvery beauty of the charred finish. 

Modern Japanese-style house with charred wood siding
Burning the top one-eighth inch of each wood board is a natural way to preserve the timber and (paradoxically) make it fire resistant. Chemical preservatives, paints, and retardants are thus unnecessary. A further plus is the silvery beauty of the charred finish. Image courtesy of I See For You © Föllmi Photography.

 
Your Turn: 
 
Weijnen discovered the use of charred wood through the work of Terunobu Fuji­mori and traveled to the Japanese island of Naoshima to observe the traditional techni­que. Back in Amsterdam, he adapted the process for his own home. Here’s how he did it.
 
Step 1: Though traditionally three Japanese cedar boards are bound to form 
a long triangle and a fire is started within the resulting tunnel, Weijnen built a brick oven to accommodate two six-foot-long larch wood boards at a time.
 
Step 2: Weijnen charred the top one-eighth inch of each board in the gas burner–equipped oven, a process that took ap­proximately ten minutes.
 
Step 3: After removing the planks from the brick oven, Weijnen doused 
them with water if the fires didn’t go out on their own. Though Weijnen left his boards au naturel, you can also finish planks by brushing and oiling them.
 
Step 4: The inevitable learning curve will begin with less successful pieces; Weijnen used his early attempts in the kitchen ceiling. 
 

Reused Timber 

Modern Japanese-style house made of recycled elm wood
As in House 1.0, House 2.0 relies on recycled wood for support–—notably, two enormous former mooring posts of basralocus wood and an entire elm tree, which supports the suspended living room. Image courtesy of I See For You © Föllmi Photography.

House 2.0 relies on recycled wood for support–—notably, two enormous former mooring posts of basralocus wood and an entire elm tree. The hundred-year-old mooring posts, each standing 26 feet high, were placed at either end of the building as its main structural supports. Weijnen used a 75-year-old elm tree instead of a steel girder to support the suspended living room. The tree was felled during the reno­vation of one of the city’s canal quays. “It corresponds to the Japanese practice of incorporating a natural element into architecture,” says Weijnen. 
 
Your Turn: 
 
Salvaged-wood dealers like these provide reclaimed timber that you can use for structural support or more common household projects like flooring, ceiling, planter boxes, and furniture.
 
Cornerstone Floor Group 
 
Longleaf Lumber
 
Mountain Lumber Company
 
Pacific Northwest Timbers
 
Restoration Timber
 
TerraMai
 
Vermont WildWoods
 

Adobe Plaster 

DIY wall adobe plasters
Weijnen used adobe plaster in nearly all the rooms of the house. It's an ideal material for passive houses as it can absorb and release moisture and heat exceptionally well. Image courtesy of I See For You © Föllmi Photography.

In all but two rooms (the kids’ bedrooms because of their propensity for DIY decoration), Weijnen avoided using carbon-intensive plaster. Instead, he finished the home with earth or adobe plaster. “Adobe is an ideal ma­terial in passive houses, as it absorbs and releases moisture well, controlling the climate,” says Weijnen. In the upper part of the house, where temperatures tend to be high during the summer months, the adobe is mixed with PCMs, small paraffin capsules that melt when it’s hot to absorb heat and solidify again and release heat when it cools. 
 
Your Turn: 
 
Do it yourself with earth and adobe plasters from companies like these.
 
American Clay
 
Clay Mine Adobe
 
Tierrafino
 

Wind Turbine

Outdoor donQi wind turbine
Visions of the Dutch landscape are speckled with wind mills. There, wind turbines are also called wind mills, and at House 2.0, the Weijnen's mill produces one-third of the house’s annual electricity. Image courtesy of I See For You © Föllmi Photography.

Though the Netherlands seems like the place that would most warmly welcome wind mills (as they’re called there), planning authorities were ­initially skeptical of the idea of a rooftop turbine in a dense, residential area. In the end, the town relented; and given local weather conditions, the turbine now provides one-third of the house’s ­annual electricity
 
Your Turn:
 
Weijnen chose a donQi wind turbine, which is compact and quiet enough for an urban location. Consider these tips when selecting 
a wind turbine. 
 
Before installing, decide where you’ll mount the turbine by determining the direction from which the strongest winds come. For Weijnen, it was southwest.
 
Be a good neighbor. Consult with residents living close-by as turbines often produce unfamiliar noises.
 
If possible, mount the turbine on an anchor other than the house. Weijnen originally mounted his directly on the home but vibrations proved noisy, causing him to relocate it farther from the wall.
 
 

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

modern backyard deck ipe wood
An angled deck transforms a backyard in Menlo Park, California, into a welcoming gathering spot.
June 24, 2016
dscf5485 1
Today, we kicked off this year’s annual Dwell on Design at the LA Convention Center, which will continue through Sunday, June 26th. Though we’ve been hosting this extensive event for years, this time around is particularly special.
June 24, 2016
under the radar renovation napa
Two designers restore a low-slung midcentury gem in Napa, California, by an unsung Bay Area modernist.
June 24, 2016
light and shadow bathroom walnut storage units corian counter vola faucet
A Toronto couple remodel their home with a special emphasis on a spacious kitchen and a material-rich bathroom.
June 24, 2016
Affordable home in Kansas City living room
In Kansas City, an architecture studio designs an adaptable house for a musician on a budget.
June 23, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment oak vertical slats office
By straightening angles, installing windows, and adding vertical accents, architect Aaron Ritenour brought light and order to an irregularly shaped apartment in the heart of Athens, Greece.
June 23, 2016
kitchen confidential tiles custom cabinetry oak veneer timber house
A modest kitchen addition to a couple’s cottage outside of Brisbane proves that one 376-square-foot room can revive an entire home.
June 23, 2016
feldman architecture 0
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 22, 2016
Blackened timber Dutch home
A modern dwelling replaces a fallen farmhouse.
June 22, 2016
hillcrest house interior kitchen 3
Seeking an escape from bustling city life, a Manhattan couple embarks on a renovation in the verdant Hudson Valley.
June 22, 2016
angular
Atelier Moderno renovated an old industrial building to create a luminous, modern home.
June 21, 2016
San Francisco floating home exterior
Anchored in a small San Francisco canal, this floating home takes its cues from a classic city habitat.
June 21, 2016
modern renovation addition solar powered scotland facade steel balcony
From the bones of a neglected farmstead in rural Scotland emerges a low-impact, solar-powered home that’s all about working with what was already there.
June 21, 2016
up in the air small space new zealand facade corrugated metal cladding
An architect with a taste for unconventional living spaces creates a small house at lofty heights with a starring view.
June 21, 2016
urban pastoral brooklyn family home facade steel cypress double
Building on the site of a former one-car garage, an architect creates his family’s home in an evolving neighborhood of Brooklyn.
June 20, 2016
Modern Brooklyn backyard studio with plexiglass skylight, green roof, and cedar cladding facade
In a Brooklyn backyard, an off-duty architect builds a structure that tests his attention to the little things.
June 20, 2016
the outer limits paris prefab home living area vertigo lamp constance guisset gijs bakker strip tablemetal panels
In the suburbs of Paris, an architect with an eco-friendly practice doesn’t let tradition stand in the way of innovation.
June 20, 2016
amaroso40040
When a garage damaged by termites had to go, a studio emerges.
June 19, 2016
the blue lagoon iceland geothermal spa hotel water visitors
The famed geothermal spa outside Reykjavík, Iceland, is entering a major new phase—paving the way for the area’s first five-star hotel.
June 19, 2016
heaven on earth maya lin topography what is missing california academy sciences wood video
A new monograph by Rizzoli explores the memorial project by the renowned artist.
June 19, 2016
gable game austin texas cantilevered home facade windows upper level car port
For Dwell's annual issue dedicated to indoor/outdoor living. Here, we introduce you to the photographers and writers who made it happen.
June 18, 2016
Modern prefab lakeside home in Bloomingdale, New Jersey
Every week, we highlight one amazing Dwell home that went viral on Pinterest. Follow Dwell's Pinterest account for more daily design inspiration.
June 18, 2016
Rectangular bento glass table with compartments.
These top-notch projects by design students earned a spot on our honor roll.
June 18, 2016
bozley all
Jory Brigham picks up his family’s trade and takes it in unexpected directions.
June 17, 2016
ph133407
The outlandish Belgian fashion designer, a member of the iconic Antwerp Six, creates a quirky pattern-filled capsule collection for the Swedish mega-retailer—with a high-tech twist.
June 17, 2016
2016 Triumph Pavilion
A creative take on the classic children's toy.
June 17, 2016
planar and simple chicago farmhouse addition kitchen mutina cabinets tiles pella window kohler faucet
A relaxed interior and radical roof make a home more sociable and energy-efficient.
June 17, 2016
up and away renovation san francisco family room richard wright painting sofa
A couple bring cohesion to an architectural mishmash in San Francisco.
June 17, 2016
new head of its class connecticut renovation summer home facade bleached cedar siding volumes glass bridge
A Connecticut home with a notable architectural legacy gets an expansive update for a family of six.
June 17, 2016
Rockefeller Center filled with cactus during the month of June.
To welcome summer, the plaza at Rockefeller Center transforms into a desert landscape.
June 16, 2016