THE STORY OF HET HUIS BEIAARD
"Het Huis Beiaard is a magic house with the power to walk about on his giant legs, adapt to the needs of his inhabitants, and understand human speech. Legends told that he lived alone in the woods, until one day he came out for a beach holiday, made some friends, and took them home with him..."
Response to the Brief
The Europan Almere brief is to create a cultural pavilion with a unique appearance that attracts attention to the new development. This building then needs to travel into the woods where it will become a woodland home. As a woodland home it should set an example for individual architectural experimentation within a woodland landscape and should promote the character of the development as a place that offers a care-free holiday feeling less that 20km away from Amsterdam.
Het Huis Beiaard achieves these objectives by creating a legendary backstory around him. Imagine: Het Huis Beiaard lifts himself up off the ground onto six giant legs and walks out of the woods to the beach for a holiday. While on holiday, Beiaard meets lots of new friends and after a while, he returns to the woods and his new friends follow him. Beiaard shows them how to live in the woods and they all live happily ever after.
While he’s on his beach holiday, Beiaard stands tall on his six legs and looks out for miles around. When he’s back in the woods he turns over onto his back and the legs become six chimney-like structures that formally nestle him into the woods and create playful, unique living spaces like tree-houses. By flipping upside-down rather than coming apart and re-assembling in the same or a different configuration, Beiaard creates two buildings that are similar but different so recognisable as one ‘animal’, suitable for both functions, and more efficient and economic to move.
Het Ros Beiaard
Het Huis Beiaard (The House Beiaard) is named after Het Ros Beiaard (The Horse Beiaard). Het Ros Beiaard was a magic, powerful bay horse that was misunderstood and feared so locked up in a great fortress, until one day, he was given to four brothers. The oldest brother was also supernaturally strong and he and his brothers loved Ros Beiaard and he loved them. When the King came after the brothers, Ros Beiaard grew big enough to carry all four away to safety. While fleeing, they came to an enormous river and Ros Beiaard took a huge leap over the water that was so powerful, his hooves cracked the rock he leapt off into two. The King, unable to catch the brothers then captured their father and demanded Ros Beiaard in return for his release. The brothers were thus forced to give up their magic horse and their father was spared but the King ordered that Ros Beiaard be drowned. Ros Beiaard was forced into the river with a heavy millstone chained to his neck, but was so strong he demolished the millstone and escaped to live in the woods for ever more…
Like Het Ros, Het Huis is a big, magic creature with special abilities. He is kind and loyal but due to his supernatural strength and size, he can be a little frightening so like Het Ros, Het Huis retreated to the woods to live alone. This is where the story of Het Ros ends, but for Het Huis there is a new chapter…
AS A BEACH-FRONT PAVILION
Het Huis Beiaard the Cultural Pavilion:
While on his beach holiday, Het Huis Beiaard performs as a cultural pavilion and information centre. His six legs lift him high up off the ground so he can see and be seen from miles around. He is located just in front of the dyke, on the beach itself on a little mound of sand, and he is accessed via a wooden boardwalk. He is intended to appear unusual and temporary in the space, like a visitor that you’d better go and meet soon before he goes home.
Het Huis Beiaard is designed to look as though he belongs in the woods so he is timber clad. The timbers are arranged in a herringbone pattern and the untreated boards are interspersed with blackened, charred boards that create a tweed-like texture, almost as if Beiaard made himself a jacket with the different kinds of timbers he could find in the woods. The charred boards are concentrated at the top and fade out towards the legs.
The foundations of the pavilion are a simple concrete raft on a small mound of sand. As the pavilion is temporary, it is best to create foundations that can easily be removed and leave no permanent mark on the beach. Beiaard’s very thin raft can be broken up and taken away. The raft can be so thin because a mound is made at the beginning of his beach holiday, that will slowly sink to level. The mound can be made higher or lower depending on how long the pavilion is intended to stay.
The concept of a building that flips upside down is perfect for a building that needs to work for two different functions in two different locations, and yet be recognisable as one ‘animal’ and simple to re-locate. As a cultural pavilion, Beiaard should look more unusual and striking than he does in the woods, where he will spend most of his life, so here he looks a little bit more upside-down. If visitors look closely, they will notice clues for the next phase, such as the upside down front door.
In Beiaard’s upside-down configuration, visitors enter through the legs. One leg has a spiral staircase inside, and another leg as a lift. A third leg is left open creating a triple-height space within the building. The other three legs could be used as storage, perhaps for tents and outdoor furniture for seaside events as part of the pavilion’s cultural programme.
On the first floor of the pavilion is a reception area and office space, toilets and a meeting room. These spaces are accessed via a bridge over the seam between two legs. From the bridge you can look down into the spiral staircase leg and the open leg.
On the second floor is a large exhibition and event space, a small kitchen for catering events, and another meeting room. The upstairs spaces have great views across the Markermeer.
AS A WOODLAND HOME
Het Huis Beiaard the Woodland Home
After his beach holiday, Het Huis Beiaard returns home to the woods and performs as a woodland home. He is now flipped the other way around so his six legs become six chimney-like structures that create tree-house-like living spaces in the woods. He is located just north-east of the main road crossing the woods next to a bank of existing trees. He can be seen from the road so will publicly set an example for woodland living.
In the woods, Het Huis Beiaard’s untreated and charred timber jacket comes into its own. He looks as though he belongs in the woods and now that he is flipped over, the concentration of darker timbers is at the bottom, fading out towards the chimneys just like the trunk of a tree with the newer, lighter growth near the top.
When Beiaard leaves the beach, he leaves his thin raft foundations behind, which are broken up and removed. In the woods, his foundations are even simpler. Within his body, Beiaard contains an air void underneath the ground floor that makes him buoyant like a barge. In the woods, a shallow pit is dug to just below the natural water level and Beiaard simply floats on the water. This
foundation method doesn’t require any piles or heavy disruptive plant that can damage the woodlands. Other woodland houses can also use this method either by incorporating an air gap into their structures, or building off a separate barge.
Now that Beiaard is the right way up, there are only a few clues that he was ever upside-down. The entrances in the legs become rooflights in the chimneys and all the other windows are positioned to work both ways. The main trace of his previous life is the spiral staircase in one of the chimney-legs that is kept as a souvenir of his beach holiday. (More detail about how Beiaard transforms is on the next page of this document.)
On the first floor of the woodland home is the main open-plan living space (that used to be the main exhibition and event space) with a kitchen (that used to be the kitchenette) and snug / office / music room / spare bedroom (that used to be a meeting room). The windows that previously offered views in all directions now allow access to the woods so the interior spaces can be used in conjunction with the landscape as much as possible.
On the second floor are the bedrooms and bathrooms which are the smaller spaces in both the pavilion and the home. On one side are the two children’s bedrooms with a shared bathroom in between and on the other side is the master bedroom and en-suite bathroom. Above the bedrooms are mezzanine spaces inside the chimney-legs. These little tree-house-like spaces have ladders up to them and can be used for play, study, storage or even guest beds.
STRUCTURE AND CONSTRUCTION
The structure of Het Huis Beiaard needs to be strong enough to work upside-down and the right way up, as well as bear turning over and transportation. He is therefore made with a robust skeleton of 200mm square steel box sections. Floors and walls form the cross-bracing.
When Het Huis Beiaard is turned over, two steel arcs are fixed to his short end to roll him over on. The arcs are then removed and fixed to the ends of the chimney-legs. These provide a handle for a crane to lift Beiaard to move him into the woods. The two steel arcs are then removed and used as the structure for a bridge across the creek.
Parts of Beiaard’s timber cladding can be removed to access fixing points on his steel frame to allow the fixing of the steel arcs in their two locations. Beiaard’s dimensions also take into account the steel arc’s two positions.
The additional structure required to turn the building over is more than compensated for by the reduction in time, cost, and inconvenience through not having to take the building apart to relocate it. Turning over the building will require stripping out the interior and re-fitting it to work the other way around, but it is assumed that conversion between cultural pavilion and house would require a thorough strip out of the interior whatever the circumstances, and many of the fixtures can be reused.
Pavilion Second Floor.
The second floor of the pavilion includes a temporary floor in the centre of the exhibition space and a temporary wall closing off the kitchenette. The lift void takes up space that will later be given back to the kitchen. Upside-down oddities include the front door for the woodland home.
Pavilion First Floor.
The first floor of the pavilion is the ceiling of the second floor of the house. As it divides the main body of the house from the chimney legs, it includes a significant portion of temporary floor. These floors can later be used as floor boards in the woodland home iteration.
House Second Floor.
The second floor of the house was the ceiling of the first floor / floor of the second floor of the pavilion. The bathrooms are new but the master en-suite is in the same location as the toilets in the pavilion. The lift void is filled and the staircase is flipped over. The doors can be simply taken off their hinges and put back in the other way around. One door now leads nowhere so is left as a souvenir.
House First Floor.
The first floor of the house was the ceiling of the second floor of the pavilion. Very little adaption is required here. The wall between the kitchen and living space is removed, and the lift shaft is filled in and the space given back to the kitchen. The little bathroom is in the same location and the exiting fittings can be re-used if in suitable condition.