From the street, the unadorned white brick facade of Casa Kwantes in Rotterdam appears blankly minimal, almost boring. But make your way through the home’s recessed and slightly curved entryway and you’ll soon marvel at its unique and delightful conceit: It was built around an olive tree.
Two stories of floor-to-ceiling-windows wrap around a central courtyard as if covetously protecting the gnarled olive tree at its center. The 5,100-square-foot home is horseshoe-shaped, with the inner edge forming a connective hallway between two wings on the second floor. The ground floor has a garage, library, bathroom, kitchen, dining room, living room, and the outdoor patio. Above are two bedrooms and a large master’s suite.
“The curved glass continuously wraps its way around the interior façade on both levels creating continuous views from one room to another,” said MVRDV co-founder, Jacob van Rijs in a description of the home. “The glass reflections of the central tree continuously change and bounce around as one moves throughout the house and changes their perspective.”
The simplicity of Casa Kwantes is tame work for the Rotterdam-based MVRDV. Known for building trippy, experimental architecture, the firm was inspired by 1930s modernism when designing the white brick home. But that doesn’t mean it’s without contemporary features. The home is outfitted with a ground-source heat pump, heat exchange system, and rooftop solar panels.