On the edge of the water in the Eastern Docklands district of Amsterdam sits a gleaming house accommodating a family of four. By day the house is premises for a childminding network – open, clean and practical. By night it adapts to the life of the family; a series of semi-opaque blinds close across to lend the inhabitants privacy, comfort and warmth. Drawn across they create a thermal buffer zone and a visual barrier to the outside.
On four floors, the house boasts a totally open plan lower floor, which is capable of opening to the north and south façade by virtue of floor to ceiling glazing. The entrance on the road side offers space for parking if required in the future, but is planned as outdoor space for the children who attend the childcare.
There is also space for cycle storage and storage of play equipment. The two lower floors are focussed on providing childcare and offer practicality for a range of child centred activities. The upper two floors are private – the inner sanctum, where the family members can escape if they require peace and separation from the hustle bustle below.
The pre-fabricated steel frame is rendered externally with a slightly rough, white render containing tiny reflective chips not unlike those used for lines painted on roads. The exterior reflects the interior – excitable, fun, sparkling.
Internally, the insitu concrete flooring, highly exposed due to the open-plan nature of the dwelling, absorbs and moderates internal temperatures. The large windows allow in the low winter sun to heat the spaces, whilst the summer sun’s rays are deflected by the internal blind system that can adjust easily to the needs of the users.