Het Scharnier

The Netherlands, Arnhem

Buitenplaats Koningsweg
Just north of the city of Arnhem, at the edge of nature reserve “De Veluwe” a new neighborhood is being established called “Buitenplaats Koningsweg”. An old military terrain will be transformed to a cultural enclave. Barracks will become apartments, monumental bunkers will be transformed to houses and the area should be a breeding ground for art. The masterplan of the transformation of the terrain is made by the architectural firm MVRDV and design firm Buro Harro.
In the heart of the enclave “het Scharnier” is located. This building used to accommodate the military theater and restaurant, now it is the house, workshop, exhibition space, office and artist in residence of an artist and his family.
Most buildings on the terrain are built in the 60’s and 70’s. The architecture is functional and the materialization is outdated. To be honest, these kind of buildings usually are not given a second life and would be demolished. But in the light of the historical use of the terrain and from a sustainable point of view we decided to re-use as much as possible.  And there where we were forced to renew the façade and the roof we tried to save materials and used sustainable materials. All outside walls are insulated conform the strict standards of the Dutch building regulations.
The whole complex is being heated with an energy saving pellet installation and on the roof of the house there will be solar panels installed. In the end the house will be “almost energy neutral”.
central void
The former theater is the ideal space for a work and exhibition space. Its is a huge, column free space. The roof is supported by beautiful, rounded wooden trusses that characterize the interior. The original façade that was literally falling apart is completely replaced with slim aluminum framing and wooden cladding. Also a huge foldable door is added to create an opening for big artworks.
Against the former theater a three-level high brickwork building is located that was used for a kitchen, office and technical space. With adding a few new walls and making some smart breakthroughs this building now accommodates two “artist in residence” apartments and the office of Studio Florentijn Hofman.
The former restaurant that was located in a two-level brickwork building was not suitable for housing at all. Apart from the sad looking Trespa cladding and rotting wooden window frames the concrete building consisted of huge toilet rooms, and old kitchen with a bar and a big dining area. Therefore we introduced two major interventions. First we designed a void in the center of the building to connect ground and second floor and to divide the big restaurant into two well-defined spaces; the kitchen/dining area and the living room. In the void we made a new entrance to make a direct connection between the central hall and the garden. Secondly we added a covered terrace at the head of the building to provide the first floor (kitchen/living) with a cozy enclosed outside (dining)space.
Just as in the big workspace the roof is supported by beautiful wooden trusses. They have been cleared from several layers of paint and finished with a transparent stain.
The façade of the house is partly renewed. The northside of the building faces the quiet, enclosed private garden. The facade is provided with new aluminum framing within the original structure. Lots of daylight comes in without the problem of overheating in summer. On this side the charm of the typical sixties architecture is evident.
The southside of the building, that faces a public road and a terrace is much more closed to guarantee privacy. The decayed original façade and the roof is replaced by a contemporary well-insulated façade consisting of wood and steel. A quirky composition of big squared windows and long-stretched horizontal windows that deviate from the original building symbolize the transformation. The windows will be provided by electrically operated foldable perforated panels to filter the sunlight and to prevent people from looking in.
Project data:
Arnhem (NL)
Villa & Workshop
400 m² & 700 m²
Under construction
Niels Olivier, Robin-Jay King
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