Living in a Meadow

‘The scent of green grass lingers around the house. We eat outside. Walking on bare feet, we walk in and out carrying bowls of food, a jug of water and a good bottle of wine. A fire is lit to chase away the evening chills.’

The idea of using meadowland for a residential development is not new. We have seen a rise in overregulated VINEX neighborhoods consisting of concrete-tiled sidewalks and brick-paved streets. This comes from a desire for freedom, nature, but more specifically the desire to live with the feeling of vacation. Is it possible to retain the atmosphere of the meadows whilst developing marketable housing conditions? The design created by Bureau B+B and buroKetting investigates how intertwining meadow and habitation can lead to a renewed type of dwelling: the meadow dwelling.
Meadow living

The feeling of being on vacation is created by elevating the atmosphere and presence of the meadow. Some want to experience that feeling alone, others together, such as at a campsite. Two plans represent these two extremes.

‘I ride through the pollard willows and ditches along the small country road into my neighborhood. I meet no one along the way. Common skullcaps, cuckoo flowers, yellow lyses, hemp-agrimonies and cat’s tails sway in the wind and rustle in my ears as I cross the small bridge to my home. At the back, I look out over the marshy land from my patio. Lychnises, march marigolds and leopard marsh orchids stand among the reeds waving in the wind. Lying in my hammock, enjoying the chirping coming from the willows and alders, I remain invisible to my neighbor behind the branch- embankments, the hawthorn blackthorn, dogwood and elderberry shrubs. I am under the illusion that I am all alone, at the edge of this marshy landscape.’

You, as an individual, want as little contact with your neighbors as possible. You want the feeling that you are alone in experiencing the broad view of the meadows while and can enjoy peace and quiet away from the hectic life; this plan, is based on these ideas.

‘I ride past the neighborhood orchard to my home. It’s busy in the orchard. The trees are hanging full of delicious ripe apples and everyone there is busy collecting them. I ride into our large garden and park my car in the gravel place under an apple tree. All the houses stand close together, some almost lean against each other. It is cosy here, I can see that my grandmother is at home because the lights are on. I’ll go for a chat. Queen Anne’s lace, dandelions, daisies and wild Chervil grow in the grass as I walk past the neighborhood campfire to her back door. Will she be busy preparing her famous apple butter?

Sitting together around the campfire, living here on the meadow plot is the same as being on holiday. On breakwaters, these very large parcels on which several houses may be built are suitable for a collective of private clients, a group of friends or an entire family.

Living meadow-like
With its sloping roof, the house is an archetype of a home, a dwelling icon. It refers to an A-frame house, a tent, a caravan or a hut. It is energy- efficient, and it’s compact, clear shape, whose walls and roof form a unit, can be easily prefabricated.
A number of elements are integral to the simple main form. The large glass front, covered terrace and pit for an outdoor fire are a continuation of outdoor living.

The Nesting jacket
In order to make the dwelling energy efficient, a large section of the house is well sealed, surrounded by a warm down jacket, and has a fantastic triple-glazed window looking out on the beautiful view of nature. The ‘jacket’ is made from a wooden structure and provided with thick cover of sheep’s wool isolation as its lining. Maike van Stiphout helped further develop the façade into a ‘nesting jacket’, a façade integrated with possible nesting compartments. This nesting-jacket makes it possible to live with house sparrows, blue tits, or a little owl. Hedgehogs can also find overnight accommodation, and naturally the rabbit and chickens can live under the roof as well.
The nesting jacket has an outer layer made of sheet material such as wood, composite or steel. Large round holes of different sizes are cut out of the sheet and covered with a rubber plug. The plug can be exchanged for a nesting compartment, also made from rubber, that is partially pressed into the wool lining. The real enthusiast can order nesting compartments with pockets. The made -to-measure pockets are intended for animals that need more space than the thickness the jacket can provide. The pockets are designed simultaneously with the timbre frame and made specifically for certain animals. They may eventually be combined with kitchen units or a box bed.

  • Location: Blokland, Montfoort, Netherlands
  • research: 2011
  • Partners: Buro Ketting

Alleen - Alone

Samen - Together