Project description: Villa X


Partner in charge: Nanne de Ru

Design: Nanne de Ru, Johanne Borthne

Team: Johanne Borthne, Nolly Vos, Sybren Woudstra, Olen Millholland, Arne Petersen, Cristina Ampatzidou


What is flexibility without the solidity of a clear identity? How to create meaningful spaces in a world in transition? What should be designed and what should be imagined? What should stay forever and what can change over time? When is architecture enough? Where does it stop? 


This house, originally designed for a site three miles from the coast of Cyprus, is in coexistence with its site. In order to create privacy it is half sunk in the garden. The excavated earth is used to create a natural barrier between the garden and the road. A large, thick roof hovers above the ground. It keeps out the blazing sun and absorbs the heat. As if excavated from the earth, its sides are rough and heavy. The roof is overgrown with wild plants and flowers. Underneath, however, it is surprisingly smooth and white. Where its outer roughness seems almost primordial and archaic, its interior is smooth and carefully orchestrated. The house is mysterious toward the road. The thick, rough roof hangs low (at eye height) and the interior does not reveal itself. The facade underneath the roof is mirror-glass and reflects the pool in front of the house and the landscape opposite the house.


Inside, a graphic entrance covers the utilitarian clarity of everyday life: storage, toilet, and cloakroom huddled together. The kitchen is a composition of elements that create a space that flows into the dining and living rooms. Here the utilitarian has evolved into space. The house opens up toward the north. Free from the sun, it allows the house to open fully on the view of the mountains in the distance. A patio brings light and wind into the heart of the house. The living room opens onto the garden, it flows outwards. A structural element creates a study corner in the morning sun. Behind it a secondary intimate living room. The bedrooms are on the south. The roof makes sure the house is kept cool in summer but profits from the warmth of the low sun in the winter. A pond reflects the light. Each room looks out onto the patio while maintaining its privacy. In this area, the structure of the house confines the spaces. In the patio, a simple stair gives access to a secret roof garden. Tucked away in the rough and solid roof a small, private room gives a dramatic view over the distant sea. To hide away in openness.


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