Masterplan ‘Huis te Wiel’ is a carefully thought-out composition of an existing farm with two newly constructed residential buildings and an outbuilding.
The additional structures form a new courtyard on the location where two centuries earlier stood the castle Huis te Wiel. The design concept expresses the idea of a contemporary home site, in which the versatile and rich history of the country estate’s is still visible.
The whole project can be read as a revitalization of the country side. After the area lost its original agricultural function, the former orchard function of the site was no longer profitable.
The addition of two new buildings have turned the site into a contemporary estate whilst restoring the typical and regional appearance of the area. The estate now gives place a new housing typology, in which three elderly couples occupy private homes but share a communal courtyard. This generates a sense of collectivity which generates a value of surplus. The outbuildings are made to accommodate a future caretaker, when needed. In its new form, Huis te Wiel is a response to the ongoing process of the aging population. It brings an answer to the need for new living conditions for the generation of our parents.
The courtyard and composition of the buildings communicate with the historical site of Huis te Wiel as a manor. The materialization of the new buildings however refer to the agricultural context of the site.
With the aspiration of designing a restrained and barn-like building, NEXT architects opted for a simple architectural design in which all the new constructions were made out of a repetition of steel trusses into a zinc roof. The facades are made out of a wooden cladding and finished in black with sustainable Plato wood. The black color refers to the Betuwe area, where black barns are a common sight.
The main energy source of the premises is the use of a geothermal heating system, that provides both space heating and air conditioning.
Like a refrigerator or air conditioner, the systems uses a pump to force the transfer of heat from the ground to the house. The ground-source heat pump uses the shallow ground as a source of heat, thus taking advantage of its seasonally moderate temperatures.
Plato wood, used in the facades of the new structures, is a thermally treated wood, developed as a sustainable alternative for tropical hardwood. The main effect gained by heat treatment of wood is reduced hygroscopicity, thereby creating an increased resistance to different types of biodegradation and improved dimensional stability, without the use of chemicals.