Hans van Heeswijk Architects' concept for the Meandering Tower House.
It's not often that a European architect approaches American-style tract housing with anything resembling desire. But on a tour of the modernist developer Joseph Eichler's homes in and around San Francisco, the Dutch architect Hans van Heeswijk was taken with the region's hilly expanses of single-family homes. Imposing that style of development onto the already saturated Dutch Randstad—the urban super-region comprising Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, and Utrecht—is obviously out of the question, but California's spaciousness got Heeswijk thinking about how to build a Dutch residence with the same sense of air and possibility.
Like a downsized multifamily residence, van Heeswijk's concept for a minimalist prefab dwelling reimagines the single-family home as a compact tower-villa. Each floor is dedicated to a specific activity (eating, sleeping, lounging, working), and levels can be added or subtracted to accommodate more or fewer functions. And in the absence of hills, the Meandering Tower House offers more expansive views—ideally of other tower houses.
Hans van Heeswijk's home in IJburg, Amsterdam.
The concept remains unbuilt, but van Heeswijk took the same space-stacking approach, albeit on a larger scale, for his own home in the IJburg neighborhood of Amsterdam.
Towers in the meadow: A rendering of a prefab tower-villa neighborhood.
All images courtesy of Hans van Heeswijk Architects