Achter de Barakken
Compressed in a backyard at the end of a blind street, faced by neighbours at all boundaries and levels, elevated private terraces, windows, balconies, and a private garage occupying a third of the ground floor, the site is completely over exposed, and at the same time forgotten.
The building is conceived without directions or 'preference'. Freedom is found within, in a vertical dimension, a Free Section. A public movement carves through four levels with varying degrees of private and public spaces. Opportunistic, transparent spectacles fraternize with the phantom appearance of lightness and softness providing direct views and a new spatiality for the 'living'.
In an attempt to exonerate the site from building regulation vorspiel while enjoying its vulnerability, we developed a translucent, textile facade. The architectural fabric challenges the notion of 'skin' - inside/outside, enclosure/exposure - (PTFE coated glass fabric - solar transmission of 55%, fireproof, weatherproof, and UV-immune).
The program for Achter de Barakken proposes an inversion of public and private functions. The combination of a living unit, child day-care, a baby swimming pool, and a garden, on an almost impossible, remainder site, necessitates a new architecture.
A private unit for a single mother with a day care occupies the 'grounded' levels. The living space of the house is a conceptual plaza (an extension of the street), where the perimeter of consumerism is replaced by the spaces formerly known as kitchen, bedroom, and storage. Typically floating or free elements are now packed into the periphery, under stairs, behind sliding walls and in mobile units, relieving the 'live' and returning the notions of inhabitation, occupation, and change.
The programmatic theme 'children/play' has been interpreted to combine the act of movement and play throughout the building. An experience of touching, viewing, jumping, sliding, hiding, and finding: curiosity and discovery.
An 'external' trajectory separates the building from its only real neighbour, generating a freestanding unit. This public route, while establishing the building's autonomy, is visually connected to the 'live' unit. The skin, through its physical properties as well as its displacement in the building, transforms the notion of interior and exterior.
The transition between private and public spaces and the distinction between inside and outside spaces is fluid. 'Blurring' is enhanced by internal views and a soft wrapping or lining of the surfaces - self referential house (SRH).
The textile/fabric transforms 'seamlessly' from fixed facade, curtain, railing, and skylight.
The public trajectory spirals to the roof where we have designed a baby pool, the belly of which is expressed in the playfield below. The pool has a convertible, translucent 'top'. This free zone opens to the final act - a moon garden. The only view is up.