Glass Prefab Cabin: Recreational Island House in The Netherlands

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2by4-Architects have designed a recreational house with a transparent facade that subtly blends with its surroundings on a small man made island in Loosdrecht Lake, near Breukelen, The Netherlands. The island is a slim strip of land, a result of peat farming centuries ago, which inspired the design of the cabin. Designed to answer the specific needs of the client, the 226 square foot (21 square meters) house embraces the natural context of the island and subtly blends in. It’s transparent facades creates a visual tunnel effect; emphasizing the island’s thin but long shape.

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The house is completely customized and allows the space to change according to its function. On warm days the northern facade can be opened towards the water. The wooden floor of the living room then becomes a jetty from where the water can be accessed. In this configuration the house functions as an outdoor space with a roof.

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The restrictions to the maximum volume that was allowed to build asked for an efficient and creative use of the available space. To maximize the feeling of open space we designed a furniture in the living room for the programs that needed privacy and enclosure. In this furniture one finds a toilet, a shower, cupboards and storage, installations and a kitchen.

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Coming from the shore the house is elegantly elevated. Visitors will first walk around the house before they can enter. This way the house and the context are shown from different points of view. Passing the house the visitor has to take a step up to the terrace. The terrace floor continues into the lounge area inside. A free hanging chimney is the central point around which the lounge area is situated. Behind the lounge area the visitor takes another step up the enter the dining area. The dining area has an open connection to the kitchen. From the elevated floor of the dining area the visitor can enjoy the view of the open landscape in the back of the house.

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The fold-out wall allows lake access from the living room. The indoor fireplace can be rotated to warm up the terrace during chilly evenings outdoors.

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Subtle features incorporated into the design, including an elevated terrace and jetty, help the home float above the island.

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The home’s east-west orientation picks up sunlight twice a day and makes the house blend seamlessly into the wooded background.

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Constructed with prefabricated wood panels placed onto a steel frame, the Island House inspired the architects to create a series of modular prefabs based on the design, including a do-it-yourself kit.

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The architects learned how to deal with the complex site while solving the challenge of incorporating everything a person needs for living within a 226 square foot home. Fold-away storage units and a minimal interior helped maximize the square footage.

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Photos: Courtesy of 2by4-Architects

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