'water + reed' luxury villas built on water by BLAUW architecten
'water + reed' luxury villas built on water by BLAUW architecten 'water + reed' luxury villas built on water by BLAUW architecten
feb 05, 2013

'water + reed' luxury villas built on water by BLAUW architecten

‘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



site plan



floor plan level 0



floor plan level 1



concept elevation/ interaction with water



concept diagram of urban plan and lines of sight to water.

  • great project and great site, well done

    juliano says:
  • I hope that architects all over the world will incorporate these ideas where practicable. Congratulations to BLAUW architecten!

    Mac McDougal says:
  • juliano and mac mcdougal, thanks!

    carin (blauw architecten) says:

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