Monday21 August 2017


Het Entreehuis home at Groote Sheere estate by Bureau B+B

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A new Dutch twist on the thatched roof

Architect Bureau B+B
Location Gramsbergen, the Netherlands
Completed 2010

On the edge of the small Dutch town of Gramsbergen, a striking black building addresses the landscape. Its simple, agricultural aesthetic means it could be mistaken for a barn, especially since it fronts onto a ploughed field with no formal garden. But a modern twist on the traditional thatched roof suggests that all is not what it seems, and when the black timber shutters are opened, they reveal doors and windows.

The three-storey (including cellar) building is the first of 12 houses planned for the site. Its name Het Entreehuis means the “entrance house” because it forms the entrance to the Groote Scheere country estate.

Amsterdam landscape architect Bureau B+B was commissioned to design a masterplan for the 800ha site, but went on to realise the €370,000 (£324,000) Het Entreehuis — the first building it has ever designed.

The houses are intended to raise funds that can ensure the estate’s long-term survival. Occupants will own only the houses, renting the land their homes sit on.

Explaining the absence of formal gardens, project architect Frederica Rijkenberg says: “As we are a landscape and urban design practice we wanted the house to fold into the landscape.”



Roof details

The choice of materials for the house was influenced by the local vernacular. The primary structure comprises an exposed glulam timber frame on to which a secondary structure of spruces has been mounted. Horizontal cladding is in western red cedar.

Traditional timber buildings in the area used to be coated in black tar to help preserve the wood, but this practice has been discontinued for environmental reasons. However, in reference to that treatment Het Entreehuis’s cladding has been painted black and oiled to protect it.

The reed that is employed on the building’s roof is a traditional material common to the area. But instead of hanging the thatch over the external walls in the traditional manner, the architect designed the roof so that the 280mm-thick thatch is sunken into the timber structure creating a clean, contemporary finish.

The roof used reed grown on the estate and the bundles were cut to size — between 1 and 1.5m long. The reed is wedged between rafters and secured in place by horizontal steel cable.
The reed does not need to be weatherproofed as it naturally repels water. The thatching process took approximately two-three weeks to complete.

The roof has no parapet. Instead, the ridge and eaves are finished with a brown copper sheet nailed to the structure to protect the timber from water ingress. The water is drained via a concealed gutter located at the junction where the roof and wall meet. The water runs down a pipe fixed inside and into the ground soil.

Instead of the thatch overhanging at the bottom, horizontal strips of black painted timber have been nailed to the structure to give the impression that the timber wall is folding at the end.

Two sections of Velux windows puncture the north-east roof slope in order to draw daylight and ventilation into the bathrooms within.


Architect Bureau B+B stedebouw en landschapsarchitectuur, Client ASR Vastgoed Landelijk, Construction Bouwbedrijf Zweers, Shutter manufacturer Brunink Maschinefabriek BV and Bouwbedrijf Zweers


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