Saddleback House

Combining two cultures (Finnish and Dutch) in one house. Modding concrete prefab building system for extremely cheap and fast construction.

Rieteiland Oost is one of the new developments on IJburg in Amsterdam. It is one of the smallest islands for housing and located next to the Diemenpark, offering a wide view over green and water. The plot is oriented towards the north and asks for a solution between the sunny frontside and a backside with a beautiful view to the water.

The client specifically asked to implement the Hercuton system, a prefab concrete system that is especially aimed at quickly constructing large industrial buildings. After several meetings with the Hercuton Company, a factory-visit and a briefing of the client a simple construction concept was developed. Inspired by American rural houses of the 19th century a hybrid is developed between a monolithic industrial concrete structure, which serves as backbone of the villa and a rural veranda, as a warm and welcoming element stretching alongside the building to simultaneously face both the sunny south and the water in the north. The inner space is based on a sequential organization of single rooms, which can be combined to bigger spaces by large doors and openings. Thick walls contain secondary functions to keep the main spaces clear. 


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After winning the competition, which was announced by the municipality (Projectbureau Noordwaarts en Bureau Broedplaatsen) a whole team of experts developed the project to a highly innovative plan on the fields of urbanism, architecture and sustainability. Because of the temporary,10-year nature of the development and the low budget, space&matter focused on developing an innovative concept where mobility and reuse are central. The design of the urban plan and community-driven nature of the project rapidly combine ‘waste’ land and ‘waste’ materials into something beautiful and valuable. “This green oasis creates a new on-land harbor for secondhand house boats, which otherwise would have ended up in a junkyard,” said Glasl. As largely autarkic elements, the boats will be able to leave the site after ten years without much of a trace, leaving the land more valuable, biodiverse, and cleaner from pollutants. The site, which is now heavily polluted, will feature imaginatively retrofitted houseboats placed around a winding bamboo walkway and surrounded by an undulating landscape of soil-cleaning plants designed by Delva Landscape architects. Each of the upgraded boats will house offices, ateliers, or workshops for creative and social enterprises. Space&matter and Metabolic are now leading the design and technical outfitting of the boats retrofit, together with construction foreman and boat expert Huib Koel. The boat retrofitting process has been publicly visible at NDSM wharf in Amsterdam North from April to September 2013. The boats were placed on the de Ceuvel site in October 2013.






Rieteiland Oost, Amsterdam


on hold