Benthem Crouwel Architects drew heavily on the holiday home’s rustic North Holland surroundings to devise both its unique cladding and its sloping shape.
Texel, the largest of the islands that arc into the Wadden Sea off the northern coast off the Netherlands, is “an island of sheep and fishermen.” That is how the architects at Benthem Crouwel describe the flat plains that serve as the setting for a new home they have created.
Most striking is the structure’s fishnet cladding, an unusually colourful and tactile choice that pays homage to the island’s fishing villages. Stretched over the entire building – a wood-frame structure coated with watertight rubber sealant – the nets are composed into blocks of red, green and blue, which act as a diagram of what lies inside. Red demarcates the bathroom, green the kitchen, living and sleeping quarters, and blue the staircase ascending to the sleeping loft on the second floor. A grey area on the roof identifies an empty section that is open to the ground floor below.
The structure’s form also pays homage to the vernacular architecture of the Wadden islands, specifically the schapenboet – literally “sheep shed” – a type of outbuilding found in wide-open pastures and used by sheep farmers to store hay and tools. The cottage’s gabled roof is hipped only to the southwest, sloping downward into the most common wind direction, while the entrance is set into the sheltered northeast wall’s straight vertical facade. But unlike a traditional schapenboet, the holiday home includes several windows that dot both the walls and roof.
Inside, the plan is simple: the southwest side of the cottage is fully glazed, and houses a large living room and kitchen area that takes in a panoramic view of the island, the sand dunes and the sea beyond. The northeastern half of the ground floor is turned over to the main bedroom and bathroom, while below ground a basement provides additional storage and a workroom. On the second floor, a skylight offers the sleeping loft unbroken views of the sky. Benthem Crouwel emphasized this connection to nature throughout the home, both by keeping the interior finishes as simple as possible and by offering ample opportunities to view the surrounding landscape.