Permission to build along the river geul, one of holland’s few fast flowing channels, is rarely granted because of its potential impact on the fragile ecosystem.
However, the local council of gulpen-wittem recently approved the construction of an energy neutral holiday residence on its banks. designed by upfrnt architects, the development of the single storey dwelling needed to consider many environmental factors, most importantly the frequent flooding from the large stream. to prevent water damage to the house, it has been positioned on pilotis made from local trees, which is accessed via a risen pathway.
The humble structure has been conceived following passive principles, ensuring a low carbon footprint. extra insulation and triple glass windows offer comfortable temperatures year round. solar panels (installed elsewhere on the property), are employed to warm water, as well as produce electricity for cooking. the implementation of a helofytenfilter eliminates the need for a sewage connection, as it filters and purifies waste water, allowing it to flow back into the river in a purified state.
The installation of an underground ventilation pipe for warming and cooling incoming air, further increases the quality of living comfort. the home’s black exterior exhibits a silver sheen which is achieved through the shou-sugi-ban technique (japanese burning of cedar panels) rendering it maintenance free–the charred panels provided by zwarthout. the prefabricated home was constructed on site by amsterdam-based buildiers WHD interieurbouw over the course of three months (april-july2013).