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  • 10.14.13

What Client? An Architect Couple Design Their Own Dream Home

After years of responding to the dreams (and personalities) of clients, a couple designs and builds their vision of seaside happiness.

Architects spend their lives creating homes for other people. But not many get the chance to design and build a house of their own.
Jetty and Maarten Min, Dutch principals of Min2 architecture office, were lucky enough to collaborate on a new home and studio they made for themselves. The couple recently completed work on the vaulted three-story structure in Bergen, North Holland. It stands among sea dunes and, they tell Co.Design, expresses their “own ideas about living.”

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As designers, the project was a matter of continually reconciling the priorities of architectural experimentation (professional) with domestic comfort (personal). They had to literally learn to live with their work. It was “difficult,” they explain, “to find a form in which we would be happy to stay in” long after the thrill of the project was gone, the house completed.

In other words, does adventurous architecture have a place in our intimate day-to-day lives and spaces? The Mins sought an answer by connecting “the materialization of the house with the place where it is situated.” The arc of the roofline mimics the rhythmic dune peaks Bergen is famous for, while also creating an airy interior with bountiful views to the North Sea. The architects developed a bespoke clay tiling system to clad the exterior in a color and texture that approximates the mood of the coastline’s grassy dune forests.


Inside, felled timber is incorporated into the architecture and used as non-load-bearing columns. The rough bark of the tree trunks adds a textural contrast to the house’s smooth glass, metal, and concrete surfaces. Arched rustic wooden joists trace the underside of the slanted roofs, adding to the home’s already vibrant material palette. The top, double-height loft is draped in a carpet made from seaweed.

The loft is the house’s focal point, the locus of the Min’s architectural invention. “We made a big open loft space in which everything can change and happen,” they say. From that perch, they can observe the rise and fall of the sea and the seasons–noting the aging of their architectural project from the inside, in real time. One imagines they can even from there both complain about and find new sympathy for the lively demands and personalities of clients.

About the author

Sammy is a writer, designer, and ice cream maker based in New York. He once lived in China before being an editor at Architizer.

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