Leonidas Streetelevation

gardenhouse XL

Huis F&M, Leonidas Rotterdam

Within a new development in Leonidas exist many independent family homes built as 'large garden houses'. Between the densely built houses there is little room for real gardens and hardly any privacy, rather there are many strong stucco or masonry volumes that have little to do with a garden house. The informal image that was originally intended by the municipality seems to have become lost. Foekje and Marcel, the residents of no. 9, initially struggled with the difference between dream and reality. They bought a very small plot on which they wanted to build a studio house. Due to heavy sustainability requirements, the outer walls of their small house became so thick that they had to have a 'permission-free extension' on the ground floor from the start. Hefty land prices meant there was no choice but to do it yourself, where inevitably construction took much longer than originally intended. Yet they do not regret their adventure for a moment.

location: Leonidas Rotterdam
design: 2015-2017
realisation: 2017-2018
client: Foekje and Marcel
structural engineer: Dantuma - Wegkamp BV, Meppel
contractor: Bouwbedrijf Damsteegt BV, Nieuw-Lekkerland
photography: Maurice Tjon a Tham and Nicoline Rodenburg
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The layout of the small house differs from that of the neighbours. Due to the need for a bit of privacy and the many functional wishes of the owners, the living space and the kitchen are placed on the first floor. From the spacious kitchen one looks out over the neighbourhood and from otherside a deep sill acts as platform from which expansive views of the Kralings Zwembad are accessible. The space feels very high and spacious, and the curtains hang more for decoration than for privacy. Here the term 'garden house XL' suddenly comes into its own.

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The compact, cube-shaped house has been built with its integral 'permission-free extension' from the start. As a result the ground floor offers just enough room for a studio with its own bathroom and front door, a small and a large bedroom and a bathroom. Foekje and Marcel’s house is almost completely built with timber. The timber is usually hidden behind white plasterboard throughout the interior walls, but the attractive ceilings reveal that the floors are made of wooden hollow-core slabs. These span the entire width of the house. 

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When the façade cladding of Dutch larch has greyed and the planting on the roof next to the living room has grown tall, the dream of having your own home with a studio surrounded by greenery will become reality. Outside, a shed with chicken coop completes the ensemble.

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