eklund_terbeek is a broadly oriented architectural practice, directed by co-founders Jenny Eklund and Dominique ter Beek. From its base in Rotterdam eklund_terbeek works in architecture on every scale – from strategic urban planning to buildings, interiors and furniture design. One of their latest project is the Gym House:
located in the gymnastics building of an early 20th century school complex in Rotterdam North, the dwelling, for a family of four, consists of the ground floor gym room and an adjacent hallway and storage zone. Starting point for the design was the limitations of the site in terms of light and privacy, and the exceptional dimensions of the main space. The ceiling height of more than five meters offered possibilities for adding new intermediate floors and more intimate areas.
The spatial organization is largely determined by the decision to situate the main living area by the large front façade windows, while at the same time realizing a direct connection to the garden through a series of new openings and placing bedrooms where it was possible to add windows. A closed box containing the individual private spaces is placed in the double height space. Interior elements, such as the oversized floating stair and wall panels in oak wood provide warmth and a sense of continuity. The long kitchen island with its white carrara marble countertop adds subtle shades of white and light grey. Upstairs in the master bedroom, the oak floor is complemented by the travertine marble in the en suite bathroom.
The extraordinary dimensions of the space required a few large gestures. The original loadbearing beams have been exaggerated in size, and together with the balcony, the podium and the kitchen island they form a dynamic composition of horizontal elements that tie the different parts of the dwelling together, emphasize sightlines and encourage movement through the space.
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Photography by René de Wit