MVRDV curves casa kwantes around a single olive tree


fluid and curving in its form, MVRDV has completed a private residence in the netherlands taking cues from 1930s modernist architecture. named ‘casa kwantes’, the cream brick dwelling — located in rotterdam — responds to the client’s desire for a home that fostered a strong sense of enclosure, with ample daylight entering into its open-plan living spaces.

working closely with the client, MVRDV’s tailor-made response sees ‘casa kwantes’ following a distinct day-night separation. in contrast to its window-less and bare brick façade viewed from the street, the rear of the property is completely open, demonstrated by the winding full-height glass windows that follow the curving nature of the building. the intimate patio doubles as a tranquil area for relaxation and social gatherings, and, at the heart of this space, a single olive tree is planted.

the entrance folds into the celosia brick façade and inside, the clear layout of the open-plan living areas can be seen at first glance. the lounge area, kitchen and dining room encircle the glass façade to face the garden, strengthening the constant visual connection that is apparent in both the upstairs and downstairs. behind this communal area, the domestic functions — storage, a bathroom, pantry and entrance to the basement — are hidden away behind what appears to be a wall lined with wooden doors. upstairs, the bedrooms continue in a similar character as the spaces below; a subtle transition between inside and out is demonstrated with the balcony in which all the rooms share and lead onto.

in order to maintain a responsible environmental footprint, the property utilizes a ground source heat pump, a heat exchange system, and is topped with solar panels aiming to compensate for energy lost from the glazing. the south-facing site means natural light is constant and, during summer months, shading is offered as a result of the floors’ cantilevered positioning. with this, the property has balanced municipality requirements to result in a retro style architecture that at the same time, is both nostalgic and contemporary.

‘the curved glass continuously wraps its way around the interior façade on both levels creating continuous views from one room to another. as well as a visual connection, an exterior balcony also creates the opportunity to easily walk from one space to the next without disruption. the glass reflections of the central tree continuously change and bounce around as one moves throughout the house and changes their perspective.’ – jacob van rijs, MVRDV co-founder

MVRDV curves casa kwantes around a single olive tree