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The W.I.N.D. House


A project designed from scratch around its future inhabitants' way of life and their desires.

This short documentary by A.P. Komen / Karen Murphy outlines in a very delicate yet honest way how the personal story of a couple profoundly informed UNStudio's project for their future house in the north of Holland, on the outskirts of a Dutch village and close to the sea.

Intimate matters such as the decision to adopt two children and the difficult process behind it, alongside all the desires and plans of a life together become the very basis of the design, since these elements directly affected both the overall vision and the practical components of the house, including the number of rooms, the distribution of spaces, or the height of the building.

The designed and built house is shown only for a few moments in the video, Willem and Nanon are the real protagonists of the short film along with their constant dialogue with the architect ever since the initial briefing, which was very unusual and took a lot of time in this special case, as architect Ben Van Berkel (UNStudio) says himself. The video clearly explores UNStudio's unique use of diagrams as a kind of "dialogue machine" in the early stages of design: a beautiful way to translate the main concepts of the project and to find a real connection between the vision of the architect and the at times contradictory aspirations and requests of the clients.

The couple explain how their desire for both privacy and for an open view was wisely solved by the architect, who suggested to lift the building slightly. Also, the use of curved glass in the facades allows a kind of filtered, mirrored dialogue with the spectacular surrounding landscape. Another contradictory desire of the couple was the request for a "hedonistic zen" style for their house, in terms of simple materials used in a luxurious, flowing way. Van Berkel initially worried that the totally contradictory combination of two ambitions could never match, nevertheless the architect accepted and beautifully solved this paradoxical challenge. The desire of not having empty or useless spaces and of a socially sustainable way of family life - in which members can see each other within each room of the house - consequently determined the open structure and the organic, highly integrated character of the design, where spaces are almost interchangeable, interrelated and connected to each other in a very flexible way.

A.P. Komen / Karen Murphy delve deeply into the aspirations and fears of the couple and manage to document the way this influenced and inspired UNStudio in designing a sort of ideal place, specifically conceived to contain the multiple and different interests of two persons with very strong and clear ideas about the house they want to live in.

(Story by Paola Ricco, The Architecture Player)


Author: A.P. Komen / Karen Murphy
Architect: UNStudio
Mentioned project: The W.I.N.D. House (2008-2014)
Project location: Noord-Holland, The Netherlands

The Netherlands 2015
Duration: 30'46''