This Villa in the Dutch countryside near Vught designed by Mecanoo gives a contemporary twist to the local farmstead typology. Traditionally, the Dutch ‘hoeve’ is an ensemble of farmhouses and living quarters loosely clustered around a courtyard. The central open space is protected, yet open to the surrounding landscape. This spatial arrangement guided the design of the Villa. The Villa’s functions are distributed within three distinct volumes, shaped to resemble the vernacular of a small village.
The two lower volumes are shaped like typical gabled barns directly connected to the surrounding gardens. The higher volume captures the view of the wide landscape and forms a striking contrast with the lower buildings.
The tallest element, the most prominent building, contains the master bedroom on the ground floor, children’s rooms on the upper floors and a roof terrace at the top. Of the two barns, one is furnished as a living room, kitchen with dining area and a large veranda on the south-west side, with a workspace and playroom on the first floor.
The other barn features a cooking studio where up to twenty people can participate in culinary classes, workshops and team-building activities led by the client. Next to the studio is a garage, storage area and a guest suite on the first floor. Large sliding doors in the centre can be opened to reveal an entrance gate to the courtyard.
The design ambition endeavored to connect the residential functions while maintaining the detached traditional farmstead typology. To this end, a half-sunken corridor, concealed beneath a grass mound, links the taller landmark volume with the barn’s living room. The barn containing the cooking studio and guesthouse is completely detached, maintaining sightlines from the courtyard to the surrounding landscape.
The Villa’s construction and detailing also emulate the Dutch ‘hoeve’ or farmstead. The exterior dark bronze anodized aluminum cladding, chosen to seamlessly extend beyond the façade to the rooftop, is profiled to resemble the corrugated iron roofs of nearby farm buildings. The window frames, which traditionally have a brighter colour, have a lighter bronze aluminium finish.
Wood is used for both the structure and interior finish, a material that is at once sustainable and visually warm. The three buildings have a cross-laminated timber structure and European silver fir interior surfaces, a type of wood that has an exceptionally smooth and uniform texture. Compared to other solid construction methods, relatively little energy is needed for the production and processing of cross-laminated timber.