Villa 1

Timeless Transparency

Our Villa 1 clients had contradictory wishes for their woodland home – they longed for the coziness of an old farmhouse and the openness of a Modernist glass villa. Our solution, a distinctive Y-shaped, multifaceted structure, ingeniously accommodates both desires, reinventing the typology of the rustic retreat for the 21st century.Villa 1 was nominated for the Mies van der Rohe Award in 2008.

Time span2005 - 2007
Size500 m²
LocationEde, NL
TypeInteriors, Living, Recognitions
Partner in charge
Nanne de Ru
Partner in charge
Project lead
Project team
Alexander Sverdlov
Charles Bessard
Joseph Matthiessen
Wouter Hermanns
Structural engineer
MEP consultant
Lighting consultant
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A Physical Manifesto

Designing a villa is a mini adventure with an epic dimension.

We came, we camped, we created!

We came, we camped, we created!

Basing our design on natural rhythms anchors Villa 1 to its setting in a pine-forest clearing. We started by camping onsite for two days, studying the sun’s path across the site. Using that experience, we created a concept with a distinctive Y-shaped plan and seamless glass skin – the ideal form to maximize the unique views and ever-changing light, as it results in three wings, no less than six glass façades and a more private center. The different programs of the three wings relate to the movement of the sun. Making the most of the daylight was all the more important since building-height restrictions meant that half the construction volume needed to be below ground. Synergizing with the natural world in another way, we ensured that our building consumes as little energy as possible.

Timeless tranquility

Our villa grew organically
Nature was our teacher
01 - 02

Within our Y plan, we endowed Villa 1 with interestingly high-contrast spatial experiences.

First floor



Our animated objects

Our animated objects

The ground floor is one open, unbroken space – a stage on which we placed several objects. These contain the functional and structural elements that are condensed in the central core. Varying enormously in their character, these monolithic interventions animate the space. To the north, a large, curvy element in American walnut wood creates an entrance, a large and small study, and a piano-room, as well as concealing cupboards, a staircase and a small bathroom. The sliding marble wall opens up the living room to the terrace and connects to a rubber-clad, cross-shaped column (our Miesian Gimp). The fireplace and black kitchen complete the characters finding a place in our open white space.

A cast of characters

The sliding wall
Wooden interior pieces
The heart of the house
The kitchen
The mirror box
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Framing the frameless view

Framing the frameless view

Our Y-shaped plan results in six transparent facades, each one bathing the building in daylight and framing beautiful woodland views. The glass skin that covers the building is seamless and frameless – the window frames are hidden in ceiling and floor. There are no vertical mullions. The only break in this never-ending glass expanse? A green sliding wall in marble that connects with a cross-shaped column with a black rubber skin: our ‘Miesian Gimp’.

An extreme spatial journey

The entrance
The heart of the house
A living room
Promenade architecturale
Futuristic fun: the basement corridor
A carved bedroom space
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District E

Neighborhood Innovation