• Stichting H.A.K.
  • Haarlem
  • NL
  • 1997
photo: Sanne Peper

The large and quiet oasis that almost nobody knows of is hidden inside the hermetically closed urban block. Right in the middle of this urban oasis stands a modest but stately old villa with no clear address. The project Unknown Space concerns the extension and conversion of both the villa and a second building on the street into small private apartments with several collective spaces and a communal garden, to be occupied by two communes.

The extension of the villa is conceived as the mirror image of the existing brick mass: the formerly asymmetrical volume is mirrored on the axis through the front door, stairs and hallway. Superfluous space is cut away from the new volume, liberating the existing facade along the hallways and creating two terraces on the South. The architectural form and detailing of the extension is identical to the existing brick mass, but made of wood (red cedar), creating a sort of asymmetrical symmetry. An extra floor is created inside the existing volume, old and new mingle on the brick facade.

The second building expands expressively into the garden, creating a continuity of interior space while spatially structuring the garden. A roof terrace is accessible from the garden. The extension is made of wood (red cedar) in order to create a certain material unity between both buildings.

The internal infrastructure of both buildings is made of white pigmented wood, like the new wooden facades folding inside. The ground floor is paved with brick, continuing the brick garden paths. Existing brick walls are roughly brushed with thin cement and painted in different shades of greenish gray.

Opposed to the living spaces, that are very smoothly plastered and multicolored. Every space is given it’s own color and prosaic name, all carefully chosen from the standard RAL-K5 color swatch: Oyster White, Lemon Yellow, Strawberry Red, Blue Lilac, May Green, Pebble Gray or Chocolate Brown, to name a few. Kitchens, toilets and bathrooms are clad with 3050×1220mm HPL-panels printed with a photograph by Sanne Peper; like a rigid, photo realistic, waterproof and 3-d wallpaper.

The street facade remains anonymous, as the clients wish, not giving any hint of the oasis inside.