There is no need to guess where old ends and new begins – an angled mixture of wooden solids and glazed voids sprouts from the traditional brick facade like an alien growth, encompassing a series of existing buildings and past extensions.

Redesigned by Ooze (images by Jeroen Musch), this classic Rotterdam residence represents years of ‘organic’ growth – addition upon addition – tied together by a new series of interior staircases and rooms bridging classic and contemporary spaces.

But there is more to the refab of Villa Rotterdam than meets the eye – those iconic triangles were not just artistic gestures, but a way to rapidly prefabricate structurally autonomous pieces offsite before shipping them to the building for construction.

Also, the added ‘layer’ wrapping around the building was a measure taken to maximize the available envelope allowed by local codes – not just a way to make it aesthetically stand out from the crowd.

Encoded in the completed project is the permanent imprint of the prior whole – stark parts of the past stand out in the present even more than they did before, setting a conventional farmhouse estate apart from its neighbors while leaving key historic elements intact. Sustainable dark-stained timber trusses and selectively green-roofed sections help it remain a fit as well. Meanwhile, inside, antique fixtures, furnishings and furniture carried over from the original populate the new zones, again combining antique and modern under one roof.

“Ooze Architects was commissioned to carry out the conversion of this detached Rotterdam house. The house had been extended several times since its first construction, resulting in highly inefficient and unusable interior spaces, and a disconnection from the stunning natural context of the house.”

“Ooze translated the owners desire to address these issues, and recycle the ‘soul’ of the house, by transforming it in an unusual way. The pre-defined maximum envelope of the house (from the zoning plan) formed the guideline for a new skin that wraps around the old house and shapes new spaces for inhabitation.”

“Beyond style or architectural aesthetic, the aim was to engage in a process of rediscovery of the vernacular, to introduce a dialogue between the old and preserved and the new, and to explore a new language which reinterprets the old.”