written by:
September 10, 2009
Originally published in Make It New!

Among the kitschy, gnome-loving chalets of Holland's community gardens, Krill Architects created an anomalously spare and highly adaptable Garden House.

Medium-density fiberboard (MDF) was used to mimic molded plastic by rounding off sharp edges and painting it creamy white on the inside and light sky blue on the outside.
Medium-density fiberboard (MDF) was used to mimic molded plastic by rounding off sharp edges and painting it creamy white on the inside and light sky blue on the outside.
1 / 3
Two of the units can be opened up by removing their semi-transparent plastic windows to form a U-shaped covered lounging area.
Two of the units can be opened up by removing their semi-transparent plastic windows to form a U-shaped covered lounging area.
2 / 3
Two of three parts are on wheels, moving easily to attach to any number of anchor points using a simple clip and tension strap system.
Two of three parts are on wheels, moving easily to attach to any number of anchor points using a simple clip and tension strap system.
3 / 3
Medium-density fiberboard (MDF) was used to mimic molded plastic by rounding off sharp edges and painting it creamy white on the inside and light sky blue on the outside.
Medium-density fiberboard (MDF) was used to mimic molded plastic by rounding off sharp edges and painting it creamy white on the inside and light sky blue on the outside.
Project 
Krill's Garden House

When you live in the Netherlands, one of the world’s most densely populated countries, having your own backyard is a luxury. Some compensate for life in an urban apartment by renting one of the volkstuinen (people’s gardens), little plots of land crammed together
in suburban parks, each with its own tuinhuis (garden house). The tuinhuis is what you might call a popular architectural form—usually a chalet-style wooden shed colored mahogany or green and guarded, as often as not, by colorful gnomes and traditional trellises.

So, strolling through a collection of 130 such individual gardens on the outskirts of Rotterdam, the austere but playful Garden House comes as a very welcome surprise indeed. Designed by Krill architects Harmen van de Wal and Bart Goedbloed for van de Wal’s girlfriend, Claudia Meister, and their four-year-old son, Yona, the house looks sleekly and self-referentially space age in the context of all that kitschy rusticity.

More than a style statement, Krill’s Garden House is a solution to the problems of year-round outdoor living, all on a modest plot of around 1,900 square feet. “We wanted shelter in the winter and shade in the summer, but, above all, something that could just disappear when the weather is perfect,” says van de Wal. The result is a structure in three equal parts (each 6'7" by 9'10"), with only one part fixed to the concrete foundation. The other two parts are on wheels, moving easily to attach to any number of anchor points using a simple clip and tension strap system. Twelve different house configurations are then possible, though the family mostly revisits four favorites.

The fixed unit is the kitchen. The other two units can be opened up, by removing their semi-transparent plastic windows, to form U-shaped covered lounging areas, providing shade in bright sun, or docked together to form a square podium or a pavilion-like rectangular dining terrace capable of seating 18 or so. The latter is Meister’s favorite: “It makes the house and garden look bigger, and opens up the view of the water and trees opposite.” Van de Wal was inspired by his Indonesian childhood in the 1970s, and the experience of sheltering from tropical downpours in large concrete pipes: “You were inside, yet outside,” he says.

The budget was just 18,000 euros (or about $20,000). Roping in friends to assist helped keep costs low: Twelve people took an hour and a half to lay the 45-square-meter concrete foundation, motivated by a barbecue incentive. And the gnome-collecting neighbors? “Proud and thrilled,” says van de Wal. “If a little stunned.”

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

45 dva 2270 persp1 cmyk 0
The prospect of retirement doesn’t just signal the end of a career; it offers the chance to recalibrate and re-prioritize in life.
July 25, 2016
18
You don’t have to choose between sustainable energy and curb appeal.
July 19, 2016
jakemagnus queensland 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
July 06, 2016
content delzresidence 013 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 29, 2016
abc malacari marwick stair 01 0
A simple set of stairs is a remodel’s backbone.
June 28, 2016
Design Award of Excellence winner Mellon Square.
Docomomo US announces the winners of this year's Modernism in America Awards. Each project showcases exemplary modern restoration techniques, practices, and ideas.
June 27, 2016
monogram dwell sf 039 1
After last year’s collaboration, we were excited to team up with Monogram again for the 2016 Monogram Modern Home Tour.
June 27, 2016
switch over chicago smart renovation penthouse deck smar green ball lamps quinze milan lounge furniture garapa hardwood
A strategic rewire enhances a spec house’s gut renovation.
June 26, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent coralie gourguechon treviso italy cphotos by coralie gourguechon co produced by isdat planche anatomique de haut parleur1
Coralie Gourguechon's paper objects will make you see technology in a whole new way.
June 26, 2016
green machine smart home aspen colorado facade yard bocci deck patio savant
Smart technology helps a house in Aspen, Colorado, stay on its sustainable course.
June 25, 2016
Compact Aglol 11 television plastic brionvega.
The aesthetic appeal of personal electronics has long fueled consumer interest. A new industrial design book celebrates devices that broke the mold.
June 25, 2016
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
Exterior of Huneeus/Sugar Bowl Home.
San Francisco–based designer Maca Huneeus created her family’s weekend retreat near Lake Tahoe with a relaxed, sophisticated sensibility.
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
young guns 2016 emerging talent marjan van aubel london cwai ming ng current window
Marjan Van Aubel makes technology a little more natural.
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