Tiny Houses are big! The small-living concept that blew over from the USA is becoming popular in the Netherlands. In response to an open call from Architecture platform RAP Leiden Froscen Architects went looking for a suitable location in Leiden: where could you realize such a Tiny House in a compact urban area?
Tiny House(s) on top of a bunker in Leiden
Froscen Architects choice of location to build is not so obvious. What many citizens of Leiden don’t know is that in the middle of the city there exists a communications bunker from World War II, part of the Atlantic Wall.
The concrete complex with walls of up to 3 meters thick is largely overgrown with ivy and is hidden from view by a fake facade of brick. The whole has the appearance of a kind of ‘urban rock’ right in the middle of the city, a perfect location to build on. The combination of the design for the Tiny Houses and adaptive reuse of hard to transform military heritage makes this project right up the alley of Froscen Architects which specializes in restoration and transformation of historic buildings.
Tiny House design FOON
The design by Froscen Architects consists of 4 separate tiny houses on top of the phone bunker. Due to the small footprint and compact cluster of houses the design is an example of high-density living within the city. The four sustainable houses each have a floor space of about 38 m2 and equipped with all necessary facilities. With the concept Froscen shows that you can realize on a relatively small footprint comfortable living space in a highly urban area.
“Our aim with the design is two-fold. On the one hand we want to promote the concept of Tiny Houses in the Netherlands by building an example for all people to see. On the other hand we want to give the bunker a more prominent role in the history of the city by ‘crowing’ it with a more modern architecture. This way the story behind the bunker can become part of the collective consciousness of the citizens of Leiden”.
Everything you need on 38m2
The program is as follows: on the first floor are the living area and the kitchen. There is room for a dining table and bench with storage space. Each house has a private outdoor terrace. On the top floor there is space for a double bed and a sitting area. Here are also the shower and toilet and a built-in wardrobe. Everything optimally designed as compact as possible, using every square meter.
About the bunker
The communication or phone bunker ‘616’ was built by the German occupiers somewhere between 1942 and 1945, as part of the Atlantic wall. For decades it stood unused along the Mors road. In the 1980s the building got heavily damaged in an attempt to demolish it completely. The bunker was indestructible. Initial plans to blow up the bunker with explosives ran into much resistance from the local neighbourhood. In 2014 the city of Leiden decided to make the bunker part of the cultural heritage and protects the building as a city monument.
Both heavy and light at the same time
The construction is very light and consists almost entirely of wood. This makes for an exciting contrast with the heavy concrete bunker on which the tiny houses are to be realized. The facades of the houses have a structure of wooden ribs against a black background. In passing by the color of the façade changes. The walls are nearly 30 centimeters thick (Passive House principle), making for a strong insulating function. This means: low energy consumption and therefore low heating costs.
FOON Tiny Houses: duurzaam concept
The Tiny Houses FOON are extremely sustainable in nature. They have a small ecological footprint, both in the amount of material used and in the energy needs. In addition to the thick insulating walls for the winter months the houses can be naturally cooled in the summer by the constant cold air that flows through the bunker. Other sustainable design elements are: the collection of rainwater, a solar water heater in the ridge of the roof, led lighting, energy generation with solar cells, electric cooking and a dry toilet.
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