Bureau Fraai designed a luxurious penthouse with panoramic views toward the seaside and city center in a former office building that had been transformed into a high-end residential building. To maintain the 180-degree views from every spot in the penthouse, Bureau Fraai introduced free-standing oak volumes creating an open floor concept instead of a traditional layout with walls blocking the view.
For the casco penthouse of nearly 300 square meters with a ceiling height of up to 4,75m, Bureau Fraai was asked to make a design that respected and fully embraced the beautiful panoramic views of the sea on one side and the city on the other. The facades framing these mesmerizing views consist of window frames from floor to ceiling along the whole width of the penthouse. To maintain and maximize these views, Bureau Fraai didn’t introduce obstructing walls. By designing an open floor plan with free-standing oak-wood volumes, the façade was kept clear. This way, the surroundings are always present in every part of the penthouse, making you fully aware of the changing colors of the seasons, the tides, and the sunrise and sunset that are never the same.
To strengthen this relationship with the surroundings, the architects chose a neutral basis of white and light grey colors for the floors, ceilings, and existing walls.
In a well-balanced contrast to these neutral colors, the free-standing volumes on the seaside relate to the colors of the dunes and beaches and, therefore, materialized in light oak wood. These volumes create a warm and natural touch with color, texture, and refined details. In contrast, in the kitchen and dining room, the sober grey colors refer to the modern city skyline.
The free-standing wooden volumes accommodate private functions such as the master bathroom, the walk-in closet, the sauna, and the office space. At the same time, these volumes roughly ‘separate’ the common areas and hallway from the two bedrooms. If needed, physical separation can be made by closing fully glazed steel sliding doors that are integrated neatly into the wooden volumes. At night, rolling blinds and non-glazed doors can visually close off the rooms from the rest of the apartment.
At the short end of the penthouse, the architects organized common areas as a tripod containing the elevated living room, media & lounge room, dining area, and kitchen. The architects directly connected these areas to the outdoor terraces. At the core, with a ceiling height of 4,75 meters, a rectangular central volume is introduced, accommodating the technical and storage room, toilet, and second bathroom. On top of this volume, a mezzanine creates extra storage spaces and provides a lookout for the unique interior and ever-changing colors of the surrounding skies.
Project by Bureau Fraai
Photography by Flare Department