The Vertical Loft is part of a bold experiment initiated by the municipality of Rotterdam to revitalize pre-war dwellings. The interiors are stripped bare and the new owners transform them according to their own wishes and needs. The designers from Shift chose to replace the load bearing wall with a three-storey bookshelf measuring ten meters wide and nine in height. This brilliant idea creates as much depositing areas as possible and offers a very unique style to the house.
The shelves incorporate all sorts of depositing areas, not just for books: kitchen appliances, wardrobes, a closet and a doll house in the children’s bedroom. But the bookshelf does more than just connecting different utility areas and offering depositing space: it connects the whole house and turns all three levels into a huge one of a kind space. This gesture has a sensitive part to; the people living in the loft will never feel separated but close to one another, intimate, just like a family should be like.
Description from architects:
„The result is a growing number of contemporary custom-made dream houses within the uniform old fabric of the traditional nineteenth and early twentieth century city.
Our dream was to create a vertical loft: a house without walls where all three floors are stitched together into one continuous space. The interior of the new house is organized by one over sized closet that connects all floors. It functions as a storage device for the whole house. This piece of XXL-furniture, measuring 10 meters in length and 9 meters in height, replaces the load bearing middle wall of the original house.
Its modular system integrates kitchen appliances, bookshelves, wardrobe, and a walk in closet. The introduction of a central void reinforces the presence of the closet. The void enables diagonal views through the house in which the closet is experienced in its full height. It also makes daylight penetrate far into the 14 meter deep house. Two steel stairs in the void make the bookshelves accessible and create a vertical circulation along and through the closet.
The extreme makeover of the house is combined with a selective preservation of elements of the old casco. Industrial materials such as the phenol coated multiplex of the closet and the polyurethane flooring are balanced by the longitudinal brick wall that is left bare, the stained glass and the original doors that are restored and re-used. The roughness of the wall, full with traces of the past, tells stories about the continuous makeovers that the house has undergone in the last hundred years.”
An amazing idea that presents a genuine solution to the problem of depositing areas which are requested in large quantities. While other solutions may resolve this problem in a functional manner, this one shows that it has the touch of a designer and that style was a parameter as well.
Text: Shift architecture urbanism
Photography: René de Wit, Jeroen Musch
Shift architecture urbanism
Design: Shift architecture urbanism, Rotterdam
Project architects: Oana Rades and Harm Timmermans
Contractor: JWK Bouwteam, Gerrit Kooiker, Ijzendoorn
Construction: B2CO, Richard Fielt, Ede
Installations: Installatietechniek Fred vd Pol & Zn., Ede
Floors: DRT, Oss
Fixed furniture: Gerrit Kooiker, Gaby van den Boom