Zwier, vrijhaven van de stad
Location: Vinkeveen, The Netherlands
Area: 25.850 m2
Team: Remko Remijnse, Rocco Reukema, Agnese Argenti, Iria Boscà Sospedra and Raphaela Maria Leu
Landscape and urban design: Echo Urban Design
The concept for ‘Zwier’ is to transform the existing harbor ‘Winkeloord’ into an outdoor country estate for Amsterdam. Busy urban professionals will use this place as a wonderful base to relax in a beautiful, green and water rich area in the immediate vicinity of the city. Historically, the country estate is a place where people from the city came together to share knowledge, work, relax and meet like-minded people. There is plenty of space in the outdoor area to work and eat together, and space to retreat and relax.
The entrance to Zwier consists of a tree-lined avenue that starts from the bottom of the dike in front of the harbor. This dike overlooks the garden and harbor beyond. The main view leads to ‘the living room’, an old boat shed transformed into a lively social space that creates the beating heart of Zwier. From the living room the whole site of Zwier can be seen, with the Vinkeveense Lake in the background.
Venturing deeper into the site the guests discover several green ‘legakkers’. Historically these artificial islands are found all around the lakes in the area and were used to store peat. On each of these islands several small recreational cabins are placed. Each type of cabin has a specific theme that connects the cabin to its context. In total there are 6 different types of cabins:
The Raft is a floating, adventurous, sustainable and compact cabin. Floating on the water gives the raft the opportunity to move and that makes it extremely flexible. Inside, the raft is also flexible. The compact space is cleverly designed and the functional program is concealed in one continuous cupboard wall. This allows the living space to remain completely open and a maximum relationship with the outside is created. The bed can be lifted against the ceiling when not in use, creating an open and spacious living space. The interaction with the outside takes place in 3 steps; from the private living area, from the veranda and finally from the stepped terrace which literally flows into the water. The terrace offers direct access to the water and also functions as a mooring place for a sloop.
The Diver gives the visitor the unique opportunity to spend the night partly underwater. Vinkeveen is the cleanest lake in the Netherlands and that can be experienced from this house. This mainly concerns the special overnight stay in the bedroom under water and the outdoor feeling on the terrace on the roof during the day. The visitor can enter the bedroom via a ladder from the roof. This descent enhances the ‘underwater feeling’. The visitor enters, as it were, another world.
A major advantage of a sleeping area under water is that it will require little heating/cooling due to too small temperature differences in the water. A simple pellet stove will suffice.
An amphibian is characterized by being able to live on land and in water. It’s the same with this cabin. The cabin combines the ‘Diver’s’ underwater adventure with a living on land. The cabin offers more luxury and comfort and has its own kitchen and large terrace on the roof of the bedroom. The descent to the bedroom takes place gradually by means of a staircase from the living room. The living room has large windows on 2 sides, one of which gives access to the terrace. The cabin has a versatility of spatial experiences and is strongly anchored in the landscape. The cabin is ideal for a longer stay of one couple.
The Watch Tower
The Watch Tower stands like a still beacon in the landscape and looks at the openness of the Vinkeveense Lake. This cabin is for the adventurous guest. The 3-storey structure gives a new experience on every floor. On the ground floor there is an open floor which has a direct relationship with the water. There is a terrace here and a place for a boat. Inside the volume itself there is a shower, a ladder to the top and a ‘Pater Noster’ elevator for clothes. With the ladder, the guest climbs to the bedroom floor. This floor has a panoramic window over the lake and the harbor so that the landscape can be experienced from the bed. The ladder finally takes the user to the lounge floor on top. This floor has a hammock with a window towards the harbor and a sitting area with an outdoor terrace towards the lake. When the cabin is not in use, all openings can be closed so that it becomes an abstract volume in the landscape.
The Rock is a cabin that has a strong focus on the water from the inside. The roof accentuates the view by descending from the first floor to the terrace on the water at the front. The terrace is seen as an extension of the living room. This cabin is exciting and offers a number of places to stay, each with a specific window to the harbor. Some of these places really need to be discovered, such as the small hidden room on the first floor. The sleeping floor is accessible via a staircase or a sort of ‘grandstand’ where each step forms a seating area for relaxation. There are handy storage spaces underneath the grandstand. The grandstand also provides a smooth transition from the living room to the bedroom. The house invites interaction and active use and is ideal for couples with children who can discover exciting routes through the house.
Sailing home with the boat? This is possible at the Port cabin. The boat is moored in a patio in the heart of the cabin and then the guest also enters from here. When the cabin is not on the water, the patio forms an inner garden where, for example, a picnic table or a playground can be placed. All rooms are accessible from the heart. The living room is double height and functions as a greenhouse. This space ensures the heating of the house in the winter. In the summer, a second roof can be slid over the greenhouse on hot days. This second roof also provides more privacy and prevents cooling down in the evening. The house is for the guest who really wants to have his own place with facilities.