House Will


Extension Huis Familie Willemsen, Rozendaal NL, 2006-2007
with :mlzd architects

A Prototype for Suburbia
The extension of a small house in a typical Dutch suburban neighbourhood near Arnhem entails additional living- and bedrooms as well as outdoor facilities.
The characteristic of the settlement is given shape by a very normative and dull expression of an architectural replica of Frank Loyd Wright’s prairie houses, emphasising the cultural sameness of its occupying middleclass. On the other side, the lack of public or collective facilities emphasises on a societal model of individualisation without any sensibility for the idea of a ‘shared space’.
Despite its inhabitant attitudes towards total individualisations the retort village is therefore clad with a perception of a collectivity through an architectural style of ‘common acceptance’. This camouflage strategy, which is mainly oriented on the representative street-facades, is used to disguise the small ‘class-differences’ of the settlements inhabitants; the combination of small housing units appears in a similar scale and representation as the villa type.
While the street front is highly restricted for architectural interventions in order to maintain and preserve this perception of equality, the private backyard is the paradise of ultimate freedom to architecturally express the individual desires:
The need for additional space, privacy, demarcation and expression of ‘being different’ culminates in a manifold variation of architectural performances.

The project proposes an architecture with a universal character that entails simultaneously specific qualities. To conceive as prototypical intervention - the building doesn’t appear as a house, rather as a container, a drawer, that gives the formal background to reveal the hidden desires from the existing houses inside. By doing so it doesn’t compete in its context ‘with an other object in the backyard-garden’, but proposing a device to facilitate its inhabitants needs. A wall and a lifted platform like a small stage are the constitutive elements of the project. The wall allows separation and participation from the neighbour; formulated as furniture it contains different functions such as a grill, a staircase, a closed, a bench etc.
The platform, as extension of the living room emphasising the inside outside relationship is covering additional rooms underneath, such as bath- and bedroom, and workspace.
The extension is completely built in concrete, painted with a dark covering coating, supporting the idea of a compact furniture in the garden.