The volume of the house is deep and narrow. It occupies nearly the full 4x15 meter plot, leaving only a small enclosed courtyard to the back. To make the most of the available light and space the previous compartmentalized layout of little rooms and hallways was replaced by felixble spaces, with a minimum of separating walls and doors. The ceilings were stripped to create more height and reveal the 17th and 19th century bearing structure of the house. A 1970's spiral stair, an objet trouve on site, was refurbished and returned into a central position of the house. On the ground floor utilities were clustered and hidden behind a thin panel wall. Part of the 17th century brick bearing wall was stripped to give definition and texture to the otherwise white interior. The contrasting kitchen reads as a temporary utilitarian object. A large opening was introduced to connect the tiny courtyard with the interior space. On the first floor, during daytime, the open space connect to the precious daylight from both the front and back facades. In the evenings, heavy woolen curtains allow for privacy. The recycled 17th century beams, discovered during demolition works, were left in their original state, adding a pale yellow to the otherwise neutral pallet. Floors in the lightest shade of gray, arabescato marble and white painted woods, give people and objects a certain lightness, a sense of floating sometimes.
Designed as an exploration of a compact free standing dwelling on the smallest possible footprint, a Tiny Tower can be placed on a small patch of underused suburban land, attached to a blind facade of an apartment block, or be part of a high-density community of free standing homes. With a total living area below 50m2 the Tiny Tower unites qualities of the suburban private house with the economy of a compact urban apartment. The tower is designed to fit a 8x8 meter plot and distributes the functions of living, dining, sleeping and leisure over three interior platforms and two exterior platforms. While the roof terrace is arranged as a secluded private garden, the small porch at the front door provides a space to socialize with the neighbors. The interior platforms are connected by top-lit void, ensuring a connection to daylight independent of the context. The eco-friendly and cost effective wooden structure can be placed on a light foundation, is insulated with recycled paper cellulose and finished with low-maintenance bamboo boarding.
Function: dwelling with minimal land use Location: Homeruskwartier Almere Size: 46m2 Status: competition 2016
Modern dimension systems are based on scientifically approximated averages, normative bodies and standard actions. They provide hard numbers easily applied in the proportions of architecture and product design. In practice however, a measurement or proportion is a soft entity with different meaning for specific bodies in specific contexts. Good design includes the hard numbers, yet also takes into account fluid functionality, overlapping routines, aberrant measurements of bodies and objects, specific orientations and yet to be discovered possibilities and meaning. In order not to forget these aspects of design we named them Soft Dimensions*. The research project Soft Dimensions investigates the dynamic relations between people, spaces, places and objects. The aim is to collect knowledge through specific case studies in our design processes, yet also through analysis of general observations and memory. The discovery of new forms of notation are not a goal in itself, but a mere outcome of the desire to express soft dimensions in our designs.
Function: research project Status: ongoing
*Soft Dimensions was first introduced by Inara Nevskaya in the article Soft Dimensions in: VOLUME #33 Interiors; Archis, Amsterdam, October 2012
The research article New Family demonstrates the radical consequence of the application of overlapping routines in the design and use of a small Japanese standard appartment.
Unlike many European countries, Japan has no true history of experimentation with collective forms of living. More than 4/5th of the dwelling is often used in a communal manner. On first hand, it a surprising discovery, knowing the Japanese only as very private and reserved people. But when looking at the classic tatami room house one realizes that there is a well established tradition on how to share space. The routine of the family is choreographed in such a way that the tatami rooms can accommodate different and overlapping activities of the different family members through the course of the day. A Japanese young architects’ collective used this knowledge to organize their own choreography and make their own impermanent private bubbles within the standard apartment type. The apartment is one of their design projects and they themselves are the heart of a social experiment. Over time they have transformed a standard 50m2 apartment, laid out for a modern japanese family of three, into a space accommodating a young collective through day and night, 7 days a week. The apartment is presented as a 7-room dwelling: a meeting-dining room, office, three bedrooms, kitchen, bathroom and a balcony room. At the entrance hall a table and three chairs serve as the meeting and dining area. The central common room with three identical working tables and shelves, aligned along the wall, is the office studio. The bedrooms, not larger than 3m2 each, surround the common area and are the only private spaces in the apartment. Typically the balcony in Japan is being used in the likes of an utility room: a space for the washing machine, drying laundry and the airco installation. On the contrary, the one is a cosy outside room with a couple of chairs and plants. ‘Yes, it started with thinking of an affordable way to live, one of three partners explains, but we do take living together seriously. We share the household and finances, a long term commitment to our business and most importantly a certain common ground in our ideas and believes. We know more about each other than about our traditional family members. I am convinced that this lifestyle is emerging not only because of our overpriced cities, but that indeed another type of family is being born.’
Function: research article Location: Tokyo Status: published as New Family in: TOKYO TOTEM; Monnik, Flick Studio; Amsterdam/Tokyo 2015
Common Practice is currently preparing the design for a multifunctional studio space in the centre of Amsterdam. The irregular L-shaped space will be arranged as a sequence of flexible rooms. Separated by heavy curtains, the rooms can be used separately or together and change function from day to night, from weekday, to weekend for a wide variety of activities. The interior can be adapted as an office space, meeting room, workshop room, dining room, screening room and gallery space.
Function: multifunctional studio Location: Amsterdam Centrum Size: 78m2 Status: expected completion 2017
wonen in winkels
Common Practice has been selected to participate in the Wonen in Winkels project of the municipality of Rotterdam. In an effort to inspire the transformation of more than 600 derelict commercial spaces throughout the city, the municipality has acquired 15 shops and business units in order to be sold as future dwellings by means of a public lottery. Five design studios have been asked to provide their architectural vision on the project and assist the future dwellers in the transformation process. We are particularily interested in the meaning of the archetypical shop window as lively ‘eye on the street’ and characteristic exception in the long facades of the city. In the design of the dwellings, we are looking to adopt and rejuvenate the public function of the ‘store front’ of the house while safeguarding the privacy of the interior by means of a permeable transition zone.
Function: shop to dwelling conversion Location: Rotterdam Size: 55-200m2 Status: winner architects selection 2017 Client: WoonLab010 Gemeente Rotterdam
Common Practice is currently preparing the design for a multifunctional 140 m2 living and working space situated on the ground floor of a cooperative apartment building in the Buiksloterham area of Amsterdam Noord.
The living area, arranged to accommodate a family with young children, is oriented towards the collective garden on the rear of the building. The work area with extra high ceilings has a separate entrance and opens up to the street. It will function as a separate home office and part-time doctors practice. Outside working hours it can be connected to the routines of the home. A mezzanine overlooks both the office and the living room. Special attention is given to the facade area, balancing privacy and presentation towards the street.
Function: living and working space Location: Amsterdam Noord Size: 140m2 Status: expected completion 2019
Common Practice has been selected to participate in a design atelier for the new housing development on the former shipyards of Oostenburgereiland in Amsterdam. Four young architecture studios are invited to design and develop new forms of (social)housing and contrasting architecture for housing corporation Stadgenoot. The jury states: ‘Common Practice joins sharp analytical capabilities with an almost romantic approach to design, which results in sensitive and multifunctional micro floor plans.’
Function: dwellings, collective & commercial spaces Location: Amsterdam Oostenburgereiland Size: up to 5000m2 Status: winner architects selection Open Oproep Oostenburgereiland 2017 Client: Woningcorporatie Stadgenoot Amsterdam Project: common practice x hilbrand wanders
Common Detail focuses on the smallest possible items that have a role in the relations between people, spaces, places and objects. Every day we make contact with very common yet consciously designed details of the structures and technology we surround ourselves with. We touch handles and knobs, pull levers and ropes or push buttons and switches. Small details which also represent the most intimate interaction between humans and architecture. As we believe that every work of architecture deserves its own collection of complementing fittings, Common Practice experiments with the design of architectural door fittings and accessories. The aim is to create a family of affordable, simple yet elegant bespoke handles, pulls, knobs and doorstoppers. The slim steel profiles can be fitted with leather, felt or wood applications to personalize the design for specific interiors. With the application of discarded materials from other production processes and low tech detailing , these bespoke handles are also available for projects with moderate budgets.
Function: series of architectural door fittings and accessories
Common Practice has been invited to design a multifunctional office space for an Amsterdam based 'social engineering agency'.
The office will be situated in a partly double height space in a cooperative apartment building. The front part of the office has a flexible open plan suited to host workshops and events. The kitchen/bar area serves as a central meeting place between the public front and the more private spaces situated in the rear. A built in mezzanine structure overlooks the facade area and strengthens the relation to the public.