The Poplar Garden House by Onix
We’re now well into Spring in the northern hemisphere, and many people will be busy planting and tending their gardens. For apartment dwellers, that may mean just a couple of planters squeezed onto a small balcony. Some European cities offer their residents a very nice amenity in the form of allotment gardens. Small plots of land are leased out to citizens at a nominal yearly rent, giving them an opportunity to grow their own fresh food while enjoying outdoor leisure. Many people will spend the weekend at their allotments, taking care of their plants, socializing with other gardeners, and just relaxing.
The Tuinwijck allotment gardens were founded 100 years ago near the center of the Dutch city of Groningen. At about 200 m2, the Tuinwijck garden plots are quite large compared to most allotments. Allotment gardens often allow the gardeners to build a shed for storing gardening tools and supplies. Groningen goes a step further, permitting construction of a small garden cottage of up to 36 m2 (387 ft2). Water and sewer connections are provided, but not electric power. The garden houses cannot be used for permanent full-time living, but they can be occupied over the summer.
The garden house featured here was designed by architect Haiko Meijer of Onix. for his own family to enjoy. Like many of the Tuinwijck garden houses, the Poplar Garden House is a gable-roofed structure, however it has a much more modern aesthetic than most. It is named for the uniformly wide poplar boards that cover it inside and out. Meijer placed the garden house in the middle of the allotment, creating two outside areas with distinct characters. At the front, facing a playground, is a fairly open and public space. The back, abutting on a drainage ditch, is much more private and shaded, with thick plantings screening the wooden patio.
The tiny house has a roughly L-shaped floor plan, bending around the back patio. The main room is on one side, while the other side has a kitchenette, storage closets and a small bathroom. The focal point of the space is a concrete fireplace right at the bend, which merges into into the countertop for the kitchenette just around the corner. With no electric power available, the two-burner cooktop is fueled by bottled gas. A bank of narrow vertical windows faces the lush greenery of the private patio space, admitting abundant natural light in the absence of electricity. What looks like a light fixture on the ceiling is actually a small round skylight. Several steps lead up to a built-in sleeping platform with storage below.
Enjoy the photos below!
Click a thumbnail to view a larger photo, then click on the photo to advance to the next one.
Photographs by Peter de Kan, courtesy of Onix.
Text copyright 2013 SmallHouseBliss. All Rights Reserved.