I always say that I like to see traditional techniques used in contemporary ways, and this building pushes that idea to its limits. This shop and office complex designed by Dutch architects MVRDV is disguised as an old farmhouse, but its walls and roof are actually made from glass.
The building, called Glass House, is in the market square of Schijndel, a small Dutch town where MVRDV partner Winy Maas grew up. The town suffered damage during World War II, and Maas has been campaigning since the 1980s to replace a destroyed structure in the center of the square. Thirty years and six failed proposals later, he has has finally realised his dream by creating a glass structure printed with images of traditional local farmhouses. Using a fritting technique the architects were able to print the images straight onto the glass, creating the illusion of brick walls and a thatched roof.
The actual windows and doors don’t line up with the printed images, so entrances look like they pass through brick walls and windows appear as semi-transparent blobs. The building is also out of scale with the original farmhouses, so it appears to be two storeys high rather than three.”When adults interact with the building, they can experience toddler size again,” say the architects, “possibly adding an element of nostalgic remembrance to their reception of the building.”
What do you think? Do you like the building? It is certainly a unique way of overcoming the many planning restrictions in rural conservation areas.