duncan kenner, builder and james gallier, architect
belle helene plantation, ascension parish, la.
Design Team: Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs, Nathalie de Vries with Anet Schurink, Marc Joubert, Fokke Moerel and Ivo van Cappelleveen
Location: Rotterdam, The Netherlands
In keeping with MVRDV’s ideas about densification over the last 20 years, the first realised building in its hometown of Rotterdam is a rooftop house extension. On top of an existing historic house and atelier, the bedrooms are positioned as separate volumes, small houses in a rooftop village, creating privacy for every member of the family. The houses are distributed in such a way that a series of plazas, streets and alleys increase the feeling of a village on top of a building. Parapet walls with windows surround the new village. Trees, tables, open-air showers and benches are added, optimizing the rooftop lifestyle. By finishing all elements with a blue poly-urethane coating a new “heaven” is formed. It creates a crown on top of the house.
The addition can be seen as a prototype for the further densification of the existing city. It adds a roof life to the city. It explores the costs for the beams, infrastructure, and extra finishes, and it ultimately aims to be lower in cost than the equivalent ground price for building.