by Leigh Christy
Nestled on the edge of a dike in the southwestern Netherlands, the compact Punt House addition completed by Geen Punt Architecten (GPA) in summer 2007 carefully reconciles no fewer than three disparate architectural philosophies within its slender wood frame.
The original house of the Punt family (no relation to the architecture firm) is of traditionally massed brick construction, the last in a short row of a 1930s housing block just outside Rotterdam. It was designed in a subdued Amsterdam School expressionist style, with all of its socialist leanings and articulated detailing, but was spatially no match for the Punts' two large St. Bernard dogs and the desire for an improved garden view.
While traveling in Asia for business, the Punts had become fascinated by small Japanese temples and garden houses. Architect Joost van Veen understood his client's wishes, but quickly realized that "these buildings were mostly exterior structures and the challenge was to turn them into interior spaces without losing their character."
In attempts to settle this quandary while merging Amsterdam School brick with Japanese wood, GPA sought a middle way by looking to the past: Dutch minimalist modernism, one of the precursors to the International Style and a philosophical competitor of the Amsterdam School.
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