Snapshot: The design of Marc Koehler Architects' Dune House is akin to the experience of walking through the dunes of the Northern Dutch island of Terschelling, where viewpoints peek out and are swallowed with the shifting contours of sand. With a sunlit, spiraling interior circulation and magnificent vistas to the dunes, the house is a testament to design which pays tribute to its surrounding landscape.
The exterior accords with the traditional design requirements set by the local government, but Koehler utilizes the wooden façade and a distinctive pitched roof design to strike a dramatic profile amongst the dunes. Sandy in hue with natural wood construction, the house blends. The angular shapes and the perfectly smooth slats of the façade speak of the modular, site-specific work of Marc Koehler Architects. More importantly for Koehler, though, is that his design philosophy is driven by sustainability, utilizing innovative modular building techniques with eco-friendly materials, a wooden roof with angled sun blocks, and a biofuel central heating system.
Move inside and you experience a sense of continuous circulation: a spiraling, open route through split-level floors. Start at the bottom - underground - and you have the private bedrooms, moving up to the dining and living areas, to the top. Each level and room of the home reflects the exterior landscape in its own way. Like straying off the dune path, the wandering levels share glimpses of light, peeks above headboards, or a view reflected backwards in a mirror. The sun designs its own lighting for the house, shading and highlighting the interior as its arcs through the sky.
Such a pitched roof oftentimes creates awkward spaces where it meets the floor, but Koehler transforms these into relaxation and reading areas. Like geometric bay windows, these spots allow beautiful vantage points to the surrounding landscape along with a cushioned area to rest. The openness of the interior implies a warm familiarity, a convivial spirit for visitors and family alike as they bask in the sunlit interior and enjoy perhaps the most unique feature - a pentagonal side inset with a huge wood-latticed window.