• 05.10.13

An Old-Timey Railway Station Turned Into A Modernist Hideaway

A house in the Netherlands combines the historic with the ultra-new.

When a former client of Netherlands-based Zecc Architects firm bought The Railway House Santpoort, an abandoned railway house (semi-occupied by a groundskeeper type), he decided he wanted to live in the dilapidated structure. He wanted to preserve the near-crumbling building, and tack on a more modern extension.


“It was important to us and our client to maintain some of the old atmosphere and make sure the end result doesn’t feel like a new house,” Daphne van Baardwijk of Zecc told Co.Design. “Not new” isn’t a common project requirement, but Zecc’s final design, indeed, has all the crispness of some newly minted, very modern, apartments we’re seeing crop up in New York City and Los Angeles.

Zecc converted the old brick exterior of the railway house into the interior walls (exposed brick always delights) for the new home. They used Corten Steel, which is rusted, on the extension. The Corten elements of the new building actually appear to be slicing through the original house, so that the two materials are visibly mixed from the outside. “The image of the Corten extension penetrating through the old house is really powerful,” van Baardwijk says. The final result is a home that neatly integrates its quaint history with forward-thinking design. It helps, adds van Baardwijk, that the client has excellent taste in furniture–good enough to launch his own interior design office, based on the Railway House.

About the author

Margaret Rhodes is a former associate editor for Fast Company magazine.