Today we are looking at a very special before and after project from our Dutch neighbours. The work was completed by Architecten Bureau Prent BV, a firm that specialises in the restoration and reuse of culturally significant and heritage listed buildings. Every project and assignment commissioned is treated in a unique way; each with a specific approach and outlook that is dependent on the site. In this instance, a former factory in Wageningen, an area located in central Holland, has been transformed from a large, unused building into a house and office combination. In the photo series below, we will tour through the dwelling and show you how it has been transformed from its past state into a home that is the epitome of contemporary and modern design. Take a look…
The former factory is striking in its appeal, thanks to its huge proportions and industrial exterior envelope. Judging from the dilapidated state, you'd think the factory had been left non-operational much earlier than 2004. In this photo, we see a snippet of the past, which has been well and truly left behind in favour of a 21st century existence.
Wow—what a transformation indeed! In this image, we see the fully restored and restructured front façade. The architects have found a way to cleverly merge the existing openings into the new design, creating a strong connection between the past and present life of the building. If you flick between this photo and the image before, you can see the tiny window in the top right hand corner that remains. To create a distinction between old and new, the original windows are frameless and recessed into the walls ever-so slightly. In contrast, the new windows have wooden frames, and they too, appear to 'float' within the stark white render of the exterior.
As you can see, the rear of the building reveals a different story from the front. Totally restored and repaired, all the bumps and cracks have been removed. The new façade, despite its drastic facelift, still shows elements of the past. Additional windows have been added to ensure a uniform and balanced look.
The interior volume of the factory before renovation was dark and cramped, suitable of course, for the existing industrial purpose of the building. One of the most wonderful design considerations in this project is the merger of the two lower floors, which have created the wide open space that you see here. The floor that divided the two spaces was removed, giving way to an array of internal spatial layout possibilities.
In total contrast to the image above, the new living room is luminous and bathed in natural light. The designers have chosen to focus on soft colours, which are highlighted against the white walls and ceiling. Though unrecognisable from its former life, hints of the past still remain via the windows and the rafter lines evident in the ceiling. In the background, you can see the new kitchen, which is cleverly divided from the living room by a long wooden dining room table. The spatial arrangement of the furniture creates a distinction between the various space without the need for partitioning.
What may not be clear from the previous image, is the mezzanine floor that has been added above the dining area. The ceiling height, which would be considered low in comparison to the other rooms, creates an intimate and relaxing atmosphere. Despite this addition, the space still feels spacious and bright, with the benefit of extra mixed use spaces for the occupants to cook, relax and dine in.
The bathroom is an oasis of light and brightness. The colour palette is neutral in this space also, causing the light that flows in from outside to cast a pleasant, ethereal glow. Though the overall look and feel of the bathroom is contemporary, rustic vanity units have been used underneath the sink, creating a space that is dynamic and eclectic.
If this factory has whet your appetite for conversions, check out the following ideabook: The big reveal: London flat reinvention.