A House Built With Old Billboards and Broken Umbrellas

A House Built With Old Billboards and Broken Umbrellas

Cambria Bold
Jan 26, 2011

The Villa Welpeloo house in the Netherlands doesn't look like what you'd normally think of as a "recycled" house. There are no plastic bottle walls or trash heap rooftops. And yet, this house is reused to the bone—the work of Jan Jongert and Jeroen Bergsma of 2012Architects. All of the materials used were sourced within a nine-mile radius from the site, both from suppliers and anywhere they could get scrap material. Jongert and Bergsma "define 'recyclicity,' or 'superuse,' as reusing items in significantly different ways than what was intended for their original incarnations." And just wait until you see mind-blowingly awesome way they reused broken umbrellas…

Dwell magazine showcases the home in their February 2011 issue:

Their resourcefulness paid off. The house's steel framework was harvested from the disused machinery of a nearby textile mill (fabric production was once a major industry in this eastern Netherlands region near the German border). The facade is clad in weathered wooden planks, repurposed from 600 dismantled cable reels and heat-treated at about 300 to 377 degrees Fahrenheit, a natural Dutch weatherproofing technique known as the PLATO process. The wooden cladding envelops the house protectively, overhanging the doors and windows. In some places it acts as a screen, covering some of the bathroom windows, for example, but still admitting light.
The recycling continues in the interior fixtures, where old billboards have been used for the kitchen cabinetry; they reveal their former nature through "now you see it, now you don't" expanses of colorful graphics when the drawers are opened. Old umbrellas have been cannibalized to make delicately wiry halogen lamps. Harvesting these materials was an equally inventive process: The architects leafleted a neighborhood in Utrecht, asking locals to drop off their broken umbrellas at a colleague's apartment. Playful touches like this humanize the house, softening its uncompromising modernist proportions and die-hard environmental credentials. "You do and you don't recognize the reused parts," explains Jongert. "It's simultaneous recognition and estrangement—which is what gives rise to beauty, and humor."

Read the whole article and see more photos at Dwell.

(Images: Mark Seelen for Dwell)

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