Hoflaan House, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Maccreanor Lavington

Hoflaan House replaces a two storey, post-war dwelling that had reached the end of its life due to the poor quality of materials available after the war. The location is the equivalent of a conservation area in the UK, described as a protected streetscape. The street is characterised by deep front and rear gardens, large mature trees and numerous individual houses of different widths and heights in different materials, of varying ages and architectural styles.

The street has an ambivalent character: partly urban, partly suburban and at times seemingly rural. White rendered houses are a characteristic part of the streetscape and the new house uses render as its principle external building material. The north end of the street had proportionally fewer white villas than the south and the new building rectifies that balance.

The front facade is of a typical urban townhouse with historically proportioned windows and ceiling heights in a formal elevation. Behind this facade is a surprising and spatially complicated interior of split levels and specific spaces revealed as you ascend the staircase.

The house is designed to Passivhaus standards, CO2 neutral in construction and low energy in use. The frame is prefabricated timber with wood-based insulation. Walls and ceilings are lined with 36mm reinforced gypsum, and floors at ground level, the first floor study and wet rooms are finished in 25mm stone.

The site is in a conservation area with relatively few new build constructions and as such, a design review formed part of the application process. Another new build house in the street was previously rejected for aping historical styles our approach to respond to the context with a modern architecture that fitted its place was fully supported.

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