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House of Rolf in Utrecht by Studio Rolf.fr

Christel Derksen & Rolf Bruggink

Dutch architect and designer Rolf Bruggink‘s latest project, House of Rolf, is an ambitious transformation of a late nineteenth century coach house into a spectacular home and workspace. What is truly unique about this project is that all the materials used to carry out this transformation originated from a demolished office building that was located next to the coach house.

The former coach house that makes up the shell of House of Rolf was originally built in 1895 in the back garden of a wealthy aristocrat’s home located on the stately Maliebaan in Utrecht, the Netherlands. In 1955 an outbuilding was constructed in wood between the residences on the Maliebaan and the coach house. Although initially intended as a temporary structure the building stood for 57 years. In 2008, when the stately office buildings on the Maliebaan were being turned into private homes, this wooden one storey office building remained, abandoned and unused. In 2011 Rolf Bruggink acquired this building, the coach house and the surrounding terrain with the intention of demolishing the former building. The demolition process was the trigger for Bruggink to use recovered materials to construct a new sculptural and functional structure within the shell of the coach house.


The spatial design of House of Rolf, the former coach house and the sculptural and functional object it contains, was carried out by Rolf Bruggink in consultation with his girlfriend Yffi van den Berg. The design of the space is based on this simple structure with the house divided into 3 zones each consisting of 2 bays. The first zone is left completely empty so that the original coach house can be fully experienced. The middle zone contains a structure that stands completely free from the coach house shell so that you can easily look beyond it from the first zone. This second sections of the space houses the kitchen, bedroom, toilet, shower, bath and office. By positioning this sculptural structure in the middle of the house a front, middle and back division is created. This functional object thus simultaneously divides as well as connects the space.


In the third zone, a second structure is located which together with the structure in the middle zone, form House of Rolf’s sculptural living space. This second structure differs from the first, in the way that it is consciously attached to the shell of the coach house, merging with it. This back zone contains more intimate living spaces. A new large format panoramic window has been cut out of the back wall of the coach house allowing light to flood into the space. This is the only intervention made into the original building.


All the furnishings featured in House of Rolf were designed by renowned Dutch designers or were created from re-used materials. A nice example of this is Tejo Remy & Rene Veenhuizen’s ‘Accidental Carpet’ produced from old blankets. Dirk van der Kooij’s ‘Rocking Chair’ is produced from old CD covers. Niek Wagemans’ ‘Small Case’ is a display cabinet made from old window frames originating from the demolished office block. A number of the Rolf Bruggink’s classically formed ‘Cut Cabinets’ are also dotted around the space. The dining table is built up, layer by layer of leftover materials from the office building and thus forms a microcosm of samples of all the materials that are present in House of Rolf. This piece is part of a series of commissioned tables that Rolf Bruggink is producing entitled ‘Table of House’, in which he builds a new table for a renovated house using solely the materials from the original house. In this way he creates a material link between the house in its new and past form.

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images by Christel Derksen & Rolf Brugginkcourtesy of Studio Rolf.fr