Two-family House (or 'Double House')
124 a/b Koningslaan 
Utrecht 
The Netherlands 

Bjarne Mastenbroek and MVRDV 1997 

As the name of this project suggests, the house is designed for two families. Originally, it was meant for two business people but due to financial constraints, they found another couple to pool their resources in order to make this project possible. Instead of simply splitting the site into halves for each of the two families, the architects designed the houses to be interlocked together three-dimensionally in order to have bigger living spaces that almost stretch across the entire width of the site. 

One of the living rooms occupies the entire first floor while the other occupies the second floor. Both families have equal views of the exterior from their living room and both have their own entrances, one at the front of the building and one at the side. Although the families get their own spaces within the house, the garden at the back of the house is shared. 

 

Due to budget restrictions, the exterior of the house is clad with plywood. With time, the house's exterior reddish brown color that appears in most of the magazines and books fades away into a grayish brown. This may have been caused by lack of maintenance and the wear and tear by Mother Nature. The rest of the material for the exterior is glass. 

The way the architects located the glass and wood panels defines the space within by using glass for more communal spaces and having wood panels to hide the more private spaces. 

Wilma Kwan 2003, updated 2005

 


How to visit

The house is located on Koningslaan which is on the way to the Schroder house from central station. Either take Bus 3 to Meklenburglaan or if biking from the central train station, head east towards Wilhelmina Park. Once you go through the park, make a right turn onto Koningslaan and it is not too far before you will see the house on your left hand side. 

This is a private residence; it is not open to public. The exterior can be viewed from the small park across the street from the house. 


Books and other web sites

Excellent pictures of the interior of the house can be found at MVRDV's website at www.mvrdv.nl

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