This Half-Glass Home in the Netherlands Sets the Stage For Garden Living
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This Half-Glass Home in the Netherlands Sets the Stage For Garden Living

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By Sarah Dallof
In the Dutch village of Werkhoven, RVArchitecture builds a gabled-roof dwelling with a glass rear.

A gabled roof home in Werkhoven, a Dutch village in the province of Utrecht, takes the form of a modern barn with a twist—split down the middle from the peak, half of the exterior is floor-to-ceiling glass to take advantage of the views.

Sited on a triangular plot, Barnhouse Werkhoven enjoys a small front yard with sun in the afternoon, and a rear garden looking out to the fields.

"The transition from inside to outside, and vice versa, is always important in our designs," says architect Ruud Visser.

Soaring ceiling heights and dramatic glass walls bring the outdoors in.

Ruud Visser and Fumi Hoshino of RVArchitecture were introduced to the clients via an architectural website during the global financial crisis. It was a time when many were focused on keeping prices low and not necessarily on innovative design. "We were lucky with these clients," says Visser. "They gave us time to make a good design and thought along with us."

Which isn’t to say Visser and Hoshino didn’t take the clients’ budget into account. For example, when the original plan for a slate roof proved too expensive, the team pivoted to sleek, concrete tiles. 

"We managed to convert spending cuts into unexpected design opportunities," says Visser. 

"This project really feels like a gift," says architect Ruud Visser of the completed home.

Visser and Hoshino dedicated the front of the house to private areas like bedrooms and bathrooms. The dining room and living room are set in the glass-enclosed back. A curved wall leading in from the garden contains the service areas of the home: kitchen cabinets, laundry, a coat closet, and storage. 

A unique curved wall continues inside to contain the service areas of the home including the kitchen cabinets, laundry, and coat closet.

The home is a departure from the more traditional, gabled homes in the neighborhood.

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A view of the sleek kitchen and floating staircase.

To keep sight lines as unobstructed as possible, the architects relied on cleverly situated support columns as well as an open staircase. 

The team faced an additional challenge in designing the home. While other plots of land in the area were rectangular, their client’s was triangular. Visser and Hoshino positioned the home to create a smaller, yet sunny, front yard and larger, shaded backyard. 

The glass walls and high ceiling give the residents the sensation of living outdoors. 

"The transition from inside to outside and vice versa is always important in our designs. After about 10 years, the house will be completely overgrown, and you will be sitting in the middle of the garden," says Visser. 

Barnhouse Werkhoven ground floor plan

Barnhouse Werkhoven first floor plan

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