How the design of your home can enrich your life

Case study: A House for Life | Amsterdam

“A house for life” is a project for sustainable living that aims to support a family throughout the circle of life while fostering the feeling of multi-generational community within its walls. 

In densely populated cities worldwide, Amsterdam being an example, lifestyles change rapidly so when it comes to housing solutions, we need to consider sustainability in the largest sense of the word; we have to think about maintaining something over a long period of time and minimizing waste and resources. 

We have achieved this by making every surface into inhabitable space and while doing so, we ensured that the experiences in these areas are more diverse than an average house in a city. In this way, a city’s lack of space is turned into an opportunity for more.

Solving the contemporary problem of space

Cities are running out of space and one of the most popular solutions would be to create and use space wisely. Every surface of “A house for life” has been made into inhabitable space – the walls, the storage, the climbing areas. You get more usable space than a normal house – which would be much larger – and at the same time the house does not feel tight. We aim to turn the problem of space crunch into an opportunity for better and shared living. 

In “A house for life” we are able to incorporate all the needed facilities into a smaller-than-ordinary Dutch house. Those are four double bedrooms, two bathrooms, a large kitchen and a living space, not to mention the internal garden wall and climbing areas, while creating a feeling of openness in the house. The feeling and the perception is what matters, not the square meters. “A house for life” literally creates more with less.

Solutions for light and ventilation inside the building
Small residential buildings might often have limitations in terms of natural light and natural ventilation. To solve this in “A house for life”, we designed a high ceiling kitchen with a perforated façade in the entrance. This allows plenty of light to enter in the social areas and in the bedrooms of the 1st and 2nd floor. Additionally, the roof at the back of the house (where the main staircase is located) has been designed with horizontal rotatable panels. Each panel has mirrors that reflect natural light across all spaces. As for natural ventilation, the roof on the top of the staircase and all the vertical panels that are used as divisions inside the space are fully mobile, therefore, it is possible to open them and create circulating air flows.

An elevated design made at a low cost

We have looked at costs on two levels: the making and the maintaining of the project. Making is about materials and construction and maintenance concerns the operations of the house such as proper natural ventilation, natural light as much as possible, plants, water collection system, etc. Most of the structures inside the house are made out of low cost materials that are also easy to acquire and to work with, this not only results in less materials costs but also results in less working hours during construction.

house for life amsterdam residential renovation akka architects

A future proof design
When we consider sustainability in the largest sense of the word, we understand that sustainability is about sustaining something over a long period of time while minimizing waste and resources. 
Nowadays, people —in search for an optimal living situation for every stage of life tend to move a lot. Our residential project, “A House for life”, can be the only house you are ever going to need. 

house for life amsterdam residential renovation akka architects

Part of being sustainable means not wasting so much, therefore not moving so much. The conscious design of “A house for life” supports the needs for an entire lifetime of up to four generations. It is a house for life and it is an adaptable place. When, for example, people get older, the design of the house embraces it and it’s easy to adapt to changing needs. Every room can be turned in a single bedroom, a double bedroom or an office just with some simple moves. This is the solution of A House for Life. 

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