• Huismakelaar Topar b.v.
  • Haarlem
  • NL
  • 1999

The project concerns the conversion of a small freestanding building, characteristically situated on the crossing of the railroads and a broad canal in the city of Haarlem. The building could be qualified as almost archetypal, looking like a child’s drawing of a house (very appropriate, for the client sells houses).

In order to realize the much needed extra surface, the office is expanded into the formerly unused attic. The attic’s floor is cut open along its surrounding walls. The spacious sense of expansion, the sense of Another Space above and below, is experienced in all corners of the building. The floor is cut into a rectangular surface: a self-contained form, but also an inextricable part of the existing archetypal homely space. The floor is literally framed with wood in a classical manner, emphasizing its self-contained form and object-like identity. It’s clad with carpet on both sides, top and bottom, in order to manage acoustics. With this floor lying there like a rigid flying carpet, it is hard to tell which side is up.

The new floor is reached by INFINITE STAIRS. Beams, banisters and railing are conceived as one continuous steel tube, bent to fit its requirements like a paperclip. These Infinite Stairs are intended to be the first of a series through different projects.

At last a glass one should have replaced the existing brick chimney on the roof: a skylight and chimera of the chimney in one. Inside the glass chimney another house was planned. A small orange neon model of the existing building, floating above the pitched roof. Clearly visible from all sides and illuminating the interior at night. Sadly this proposal was rejected by the municipality of Haarlem, leaving a hole in the roof to have a look at the sky.