‘water + reed’ by BLAUW architecten, rotterdam, the netherlands
all images courtesy of BLAUW architecten
utrecht-based BLAUW architecten worked with the socially and ecologically engaged team at FARO architects to create a residential complex
organized within the complicated and powerful element of water. taking after its very site, the houses tests the limits of the rotterdam’s urban line with
their construction right over a dam and largely integrated into the water. rotterdam itself was built over thirteenth century dam on the rotte river and
has since become a vibrant metropolitan gateway to europe. as a city thriving on water and built on ports, rotterdam is in a unique position to
create microcosms of its architectonic and infrastructural success. the villas are especially an architecture that take root in their surroundings and contribute to
the maritime architectural heritage that so characterizes the netherlands. carin ter beek and roel lichtenberg of BLAUW designed the internal spaces for
optimal views of the waterscape with an angled level that provides an uninterrupted line of sight to the aqueous expanse. each living room extends
into a water-facing outdoor balcony, albeit staggered for privacy. reeds and water courses provide additional separation from the neighbors.
the residences are also a tectonic feat in that a wattle-and-daub-technique using local reed was employed to construct the uppermost walls.
this traditional building system is a local skill that involves creating a lattice out of the surrounding vegetation and combining it with some type of
consolidating material, usually mud. this thatch method is environmentally low impact but provides exceptional insulation and protection from
inclement weather. each of the ‘reed caps’ is individually made and lends each house a subtle difference in character. the open plan is readily reconfigurable
and conceptually works with a place where water is experienced from virtually anywhere in the home. the quality of living on water has informed the
architecture and created an overall intelligent system to keep the user conscious. this cradle to cradle mentality is lightened by the premise that
beauty is a prerequisite of sustainability and that when a building appreciates the existing landscape, it is guaranteed a long life.
‘water + reed’ luxury villas organized in threes over three residential blocks
local reeds are used as the ‘wattle’ for the uppermost walls, deemed ‘reed caps,’ and lend a unique texture to the houses
the balconies extend the living room into the water
renderings picture residents and architecture interacting with water on the regular
the terraces are staggered for privacy and separated by reeds
a model of one of the blocks
floor plan level 0
floor plan level 1
concept elevation/ interaction with water
concept diagram of urban plan and lines of sight to water.