Island House | 2by4-architects

This tiny 226 sq ft lake house opens to the outdoors with a folding wall. 2by4-architects has also designed a prefab version. | www.facebook.com/SmallHouseBliss

The Island House is situated on a narrow island in Loosdrecht Lake in the Netherlands. The island, at 100 m long and 5 m (16′) wide, is barely wider than the house. The island is one of many long and thin “legakkers” in the lake, formed by digging out the surrounding peat. The islands were left behind for stacking and drying the harvested peat. Because this particular island is in a nature preserve, the new cottage was subject to strict regulations that limited its size and shape to that of the tiny building it replaced.

With the cottage located within a nature preserve, 2by4-architects kept the exterior simple and low-key so it would not detract from the surrounding environment. The interior was likewise kept free of any visual clutter that might distract from the views through the fully-glazed gable walls.

This tiny 226 sq ft lake house opens to the outdoors with a folding wall. 2by4-architects has also designed a prefab version. | www.facebook.com/SmallHouseBliss

The architects faced quite a challenge in getting all the required functions into a tiny 21 m2 (226 ft2) floor plan, but they came up with some great solutions. The interior is divided by a floor level difference into a living space and a raised dining area, giving diners a slightly better view of the surroundings. At night, the living space is used for sleeping.

The kitchen, bathroom and storage are built into a compartmented service wall along one side. The service wall is thickest in the middle but tapers off towards both of the glass walls so it doesn’t constrict the views. The shower compartment is only a few inches deep so it has to be used with the door open, the open door providing some concealment from outside. There is more storage under the raised dining area; a portion of the floor is hinged to lift up. That might be a great place to conceal a bed if you didn’t want to sleep on a convertible couch.

This tiny 226 sq ft lake house opens to the outdoors with a folding wall. 2by4-architects has also designed a prefab version. | www.facebook.com/SmallHouseBliss

The living area corner opens up completely, turning the house into an open lakeside pavilion. The glazed wall slides open while the adjacent section of solid wall is actually an oversized door that folds away. A structural steel frame carries the weight of the roof without any support post obstructing the corner. With the doors open, the living space flows seamlessly out to the terrace. While the folding wall idea is clever, we’d prefer to have another sliding or folding glass door so the same view can be enjoyed during cold weather. The architects have said the idea was to maintain privacy from the neighboring islands, but blinds might have been adequate.

This tiny 226 sq ft lake house opens to the outdoors with a folding wall. 2by4-architects has also designed a prefab version. | www.facebook.com/SmallHouseBliss

With the immense popularity of the Island House in numerous publications and websites, 2by4-architects decided to develop prefabricated versions based upon it. The prefab houses have the same gabled shape and (mostly) glazed end walls, however they do not have the folding wall. That was made possible by the structural steel frame of the Island House, but the prefab versions use a different structural system.

The prefab versions are available in three sizes with opera-inspired names. The Aida has the same inside floor space as the Island House but with a different floor plan. The Tosca is a few feet longer and adds a half loft for a total of 39 m2 (419 ft2). The largest offering is the Nabucco, a few feet longer still and with 48 m2 (516 ft2) of inside space. A few sample floor plans are in the gallery below. For more information go to the 2by4-architects website (Dutch only).

Enjoy the photos and the weekend!

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