Designed by Rotterdam-based firm Powerhouse Company, ‘Villa 1’ is a modern architectural delight located in a pine-forest clearing in Ede, the Netherlands. Its distinctive and multifaceted structure, glass facades, and forest surrounds, create an innovative residential retreat that sits at the forefront of minimalist design.
The villa encompasses a landscape of different spatial qualities that go beyond mere functionality, combining the coziness of traditional farmhouses and the openness of a Modernist glass villa. The residential building stretches horizontally across the woodlands; half of it is built below ground to meet local zoning regulations. To unite the client’s wishes for open spaces and privacy, Powerhouse Company created a distinctive Y-shaped plan for the house—a carefully studied configuration that would guarantee an orientation towards the woods with constant sun exposure and intimacy. The residence is characterized by different building techniques and materials, which create spatial experiences with visual contrasts throughout. A quintessentially Modernist glass box with a steel roof outlines the ground floor, while the basement is Brutalist in form and materiality and medieval in character—its excavated spaces feature an architecture with primordial qualities, thick walls in concrete, and vaulted ceilings. The ground floor is one open, continuous space hosting different common areas. Three wings with different functions—one for work and music making, one for cooking and eating, and one for living and painting—converge in a large central atrium that serves as the villa’s entrance hall. Functional and structural elements, distinctively different in their designs, materials, and feel, make up each wing and animate the living spaces. The basement level shelters the bedrooms alongside a sci-fi garage.
‘Villa 1’ fits brillianty in the context of its surroundings and enables interior-exterior connections. Uninterrupted frameless windows stretching from roof to floor engulf the entire surface level, reflecting nothing but the air and maximizing views of the ever-changing light and surrounding forest. The only break in the seamless skin glass is a big green marble sliding wall mounted on honeycomb aluminum plates; a stunning design element and a highlight in itself.