Walking along the sand dunes on the Dutch island of Terschelling is an experience in unbridled natural beauty. The Dune House from Marc Koehler Architects settles naturally between the dunes – from some angles, even appearing to have been constructed by the sands and wind themselves.
The Dune House provides a different viewing experience from each side. Each of these views, however, stays true to the architect’s master plan for the structure: to create a home using only the colors and textures found in the immediate surroundings.
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The interior of the home is a continuation of the homage to the dunes. Walking through the open, loft-like house is reminiscent of taking a stroll through the dunes as the split levels spiral around a central core. One platform blends into the next with a slight step up, each level serving its own function.
Intimate home spaces such as bedrooms are located underground to offer the maximum amount of privacy. The spiraling split levels take one up through the dining, living, and relaxation areas in a natural pattern that resembles leisurely climbing a dune toward the sun.
Environmental friendliness was a front-and-center goal for Koehler and his clients. Passive heating and cooling was integrated into the building’s design, as were power-producing solar panels. A biomass-run fireplace further reduces the home’s ecological impact.
The visual impact, however, remains great. The unique wooden roof takes on the “turtle” shape of surrounding homes, but the Dune House is distinctive in its multi-faceted appearance. Rising from the dunes like a natural wooden polyhedron, its Earth-derived materials are in harmony with its surroundings, yet the home stands out like a lovely jewel.