The house in Zuidzande (the Netherlands) lies next to an existing barn, inside the enclosure of a country estate.There isn't any notion of terse and principled rules. In this instance, Marie-José Van Hee had the freedom to set down a solitary volume of maximum 850 m³.
The new building is a counterpoint to the existing barn on the estate. It is located in a corner of the land, nestling in the axil of the site, and is oriented in a way that the occupant has an overview of the whole garden from the inside.
The ‘donjon’ with its view of the landscape is in concrete and, very unusually, is insulated on the inside. By turning the logic upside down, the building gains in presence on the outside and inside a homely warmth is created. In this case, Van Hee goes further than simply applying traditional craft: by questioning herself, a different sort of inventiveness comes to light. The use of clay for the interior walls is a logical response to this, being a natural material which for centuries has been associated with rural life.
This text is based on an article by Christian Kieckens, published in Architecture Review Flanders N°10. Radical Commonplaces. European Architectures from Flanders.