Woonpioniers, an Amsterdam-based design group, has hidden a prefabricated wooden home with massive windows and soaring, curving interiors within a Dutch woodland glade. Indigo Tanja & Jos, the modular home, was designed for a couple leasing a rural property near Barchem and looking for a low-impact home that caters to a sustainable lifestyle.
It is the fourth cabin of its sort built by Woonpioniers, who created them to provide a highly customizable and economical housing style that can be copied elsewhere. The Indigo houses are all built with a prefabricated laminated-timber frame to save waste, transportation, building time, and, as a result, environmental effect.
The Indigo cabins are meant to be very flexible, which means that their size is suited to the client's individual demands and preferred location. Each one, however, uses the same prefabricated parts that are assembled to make vast interiors with lofty ceilings that slope down to meet the walls.
This unusual curving interior is designed to reinforce the cabin's corners and eliminate the need for structural supports that would truncate the area, leaving an open, flexible interior. This Indigo cabin is sized to offer the customer with enough room for a wide, open living area as well as a two-story "sleeping house" in the back.
These two opposing zones are separated by a high corridor, which was meant to allow clients to host gatherings while also reducing the cabin's heating requirements. The cottage is finished with a prefabricated standing seam roof and tinted larch wood cladding on the outside, and spruce on the inside, with a polished cement floor.
Other material finishes are available for the cabins, but wood was chosen as the predominant material for this home to give a sense of being "at one with the nature."
This link to the outdoors is enhanced by the use of wide windows and glass, such as at the gable end of the living room. Other materials utilized in the building include cellulose insulation jammed between prefabricated beams and screws used to join the modular parts to ensure recyclability. The base of the cabin is formed of loose prefabricated concrete blocks topped by a cross-laminated wood slab, allowing it to be readily removed at the end of the home's useful life.
Each Indigo cabin is planned to be carbon-neutral in operation, relying on renewable energy. Because the site is too shadowed to generate adequate power, this residence employs solar panels on the roof of an adjacent structure. It also uses an air-to-water heat pump for underfloor heating and the thermal mass of the earth to naturally adjust indoor temperatures.
Photographs by Henry Van Belkom.
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