The House of Rolf—and I love that name—is a transformation of a late 19th century coach house into a live-work space. Also of note is that all the materials used to carry out this transformation came from a demolished office building that was located next to the coach house. Hence, the House of Rolf is proof that waste can be turned into something beautiful.
The former coach house that makes up the shell of House of Rolf was originally built in 1895 in the back garden of a wealthy aristocrat’s home located on the stately Maliebaan in Utrecht, the Netherlands.
In 1955 a wooden outbuilding was constructed in between the main house and the coach house; that building was intended to be a temporary structure but it stood for 57 years. Then, in 2008, when the office buildings on the Maliebaan were being turned into private homes, this wooden one storey office building remained, abandoned and unused. In 2011 Rolf Bruggink acquired the building, the coach house and the surrounding terrain with the intention of demolishing the former building. It was that demolition process that triggered for Bruggink to use recovered materials to construct a new home within the shell of the coach house.
The coach house itself is a rectangular brick building; the roof is carried by five trusses that divide the space into six equal bays; the house is then further divided into three zones of two bays. Oy. Math.
The first zone is left completely empty so that the original coach house can be fully experienced. The middle zone contains a structure that stands completely free from the coach house shell so that you can easily look beyond it from the first zone. This second section contains the kitchen, bedroom, toilet, shower, bath and office. By positioning this sculptural structure in the middle of the house a front, middle and back division is created.
In the third zone, a second structure is located which together with the structure in the middle zone, form House of Rolf’s sculptural living space. This second structure differs from the first in that it is attached to the shell of the coach house. This back zone contains more intimate living spaces with a large panoramic window cut out of the back wall allowing light to flood into the space. This window is the only intervention made into the original building.
I love that the house is built within the original structure, and that the materials were recycled from demolished structure nearby.
But, what I love most of all is that Balcony Bathtub because, you just know I’d be bathing up there and splashing Carlos and the kids down on the first floor.