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Villa Kogelhof

Villa Kogelhof by Amsterdam-based Architect – Paul de Ruiter Architects, Balancing on little more than two slim concrete posts, Villa Kogelhof barely touches the landscape it sits in, a 25-hectare wild wonderland typical of this seaside region in the south-west of The Netherlands. ‘The house is designed to blend into the landscape,’ says architect Paul de Ruiter. ‘I wanted it to be non-intrusive, integrated in the panorama and sky.

Villa-Kogelhof-By-Paul-de-Ruiter-Architects-03-Jeroen-Musch-759x488 Villa Kogelhof / Paul de Ruiter Architects

© Jeroen Musch

The Idea:

The main idea behind the architecture of the villa is that it should be nonintrusive on the environment. Therefore a large portion of the house, with spaces like the parking garage, where places into the earth, readable by the pond above the volume. The living area in contrast is hovering rectangular above the underground volume, in a glass box in the air, minimizing the footprint on the ecological area but maximizing the view on the natural surroundings and the North Sea.

Villa-Kogelhof-By-Paul-de-Ruiter-Architects-05-Jeroen-Musch-801x1200 Villa Kogelhof / Paul de Ruiter Architects

© Jeroen Musch

Design Features:

  • The building itself, striking and abstract, is two stacks, one underground, the other floating above it – in an uncompromising glass box supported by a steel frame. The climate-facade exterior is eco-smart. The clear insulated glass, covered with sun reflecting fabric, can be rolled up or down depending on the weather. Meanwhile electricity is provided by PV-cells on the roof and soon, a wind turbine.
  • Structural elements are integrated and invisible as much as possible. A climate-active façade (a special air cavity has been incorporated into it to help control temperature) means the ventilation and heating inside the house adjust to respond to the weather.
Villa-Kogelhof-By-Paul-de-Ruiter-Architects-07-Jeroen-Musch-759x659 Villa Kogelhof / Paul de Ruiter Architects

© Jeroen Musch

  • The box-shaped glassy residential complex was built almost 4 meter above ground, only supported by a fragile-looking V-shaped structure and the glass-enclosed stairway. Solar panels on the roof are planned to operate the house completely self-sufficient with green energy technology.
  • Furthermore, 71,000 trees were planted on the property as well as a large-scale pond. The aim is to have a villa in the forest in future. Each side of the house has an unobstructed view over the surrounding landscape.
Villa-Kogelhof-By-Paul-de-Ruiter-Architects-10-Jeroen-Musch-759x506 Villa Kogelhof / Paul de Ruiter Architects

© Jeroen Musch

  • The access to the villa is created via a deserted street. After ten minutes driving time you reach the parking entrance of the residential complex.
  • For the incredibly impressive object, Thiele Glas produced numerous glass panes. The manufacturer delivered glasses for the facade, the entrance area, the underground car park, the roof glazing and extravagant glass panes for the exclusive interior design.
Villa-Kogelhof-By-Paul-de-Ruiter-Architects-11-Jeroen-Musch-801x1200 Villa Kogelhof / Paul de Ruiter Architects

© Jeroen Musch

  • The owner has plans to make the house entirely self-sufficient; solar panels installed on the roof will be the first step towards that aim. With birds already flocking to the immense ‘garden’ and deer and smaller animals finding their way back to Kogelhof’s nature reserve, it would be fair to say that at least the better part of the client’s extravagant mission has already succeeded.
Villa-Kogelhof-By-Paul-de-Ruiter-Architects-13-Jeroen-Musch-801x1200 Villa Kogelhof / Paul de Ruiter Architects

© Jeroen Musch

The “glass villa” is a fascinating architectural object, which reminds of modernist icons in the middle of an extreme landscape in the Netherlands. The project was awarded for its markedly reduced architecture, the fine detailing and the fulfilment of a sophisticated standard. Such an independent, energetically self-sufficient villa can be extremely progressive. Furthermore, the building permit included the obligation to plant 70,000 trees in order to restore the original state of the surrounding landscape. What tension: currently still a detached villa on an almost dramatically flat plain, and in the future a “villa in the forest”. – AIT Award

Villa-Kogelhof-By-Paul-de-Ruiter-Architects-08-Jeroen-Musch-759x544 Villa Kogelhof / Paul de Ruiter Architects

© Jeroen Musch

“Villa Kogelhof is designed to be completely energy self-sufficient and is located on a swath of land declared a conservation area by the government. The minimalist building, designed with straight lines, rests on V-shaped pillars to take away as little as possible from the protected habitant for plants and animals. The interior of the house is no less minimalist due to surrounding glass panels that enhance the home’s sense of openness and connection to nature. A great design that perfectly plays up interior and exterior, while redefining the standard for natural living.” – German Design Award

Villa-Kogelhof-By-Paul-de-Ruiter-Architects-14-public-domain-759x542 Villa Kogelhof / Paul de Ruiter Architects

© Jeroen Musch

Paul de Ruiter Architects:

Villa Kogelhof is designed based on complete autarky: therefore the house is energy neutral. By using several techniques, the villa will have a comfortable climate all seasons, whilst being extremely energy efficient. It was an important wish from our client to create a simple, abstract, yet spectacular villa. The result is a composition; consisting of two square stacked volumes: one underground and one floating above ground. It is designed as an uncompromising glass box, supported by a steel V-frame.

Villa-Kogelhof-By-Paul-de-Ruiter-Architects-16-Jeroen-Musch-759x520 Villa Kogelhof / Paul de Ruiter Architects

© Jeroen Musch

To approach the villa there is a deserted road across the estate. The estate is part of a larger program initiated by the government, which aims to connect regional ecological zones throughout the country. The current owner bought the site, once farmland, seven years ago. It is a protected habitat for animals and plants and a major tourist draw in the area, open to the public. Permission to build a house on the land was given only on condition that it was returned to its pre-agricultural state. The planting of some 71,000 six-year-old trees hint at the future of the estate as ‘a villa in the woods’ and were planted already in 2006. A rectangular pond was digged, requiring the removal of 70,000 cubic metres of soil.

Villa-Kogelhof-By-Paul-de-Ruiter-Architects-19-Jeroen-Musch-759x944 Villa Kogelhof / Paul de Ruiter Architects

© Jeroen Musch


After ten minutes’ drive across the estate, you reach an underground volume via a sloping driveway. The underground volume of the house consists the entrance, parking, storage and a workspace which looks out over the pond. The living area is situated in the floating glass box above ground. It’s plan is open and consists of volumes for the living room, the kitchen, bedrooms, bathroom and a patio. The façade is completely made out of glass and offers a spectacular view over the surrounding landscape. The natural setting contrasts with the technical and modern appearance of the villa, that refers to the Dutch world famous coastal defence dams known as the Delta works.

Villa-Kogelhof-By-Paul-de-Ruiter-Architects-21-public-domain-759x505 Villa Kogelhof / Paul de Ruiter Architects

© public domain


One of the main principles of Villa Kogelhof was to translate luxury into the happiness of independence. The goal for the villa was to be self-sufficient; to generate its own energy, to heat its own water and to recycle the garbage. To make sure Villa Kogelhof is energy neutral, the façade offers an important contribution. This so called climate-façade is composed of an outer layer of clear insulated glass from floor to ceiling and an inner layer of sun-reflecting fabric that can be rolled up and unrolled. When the fabric is lowered, an air cavity is formed in which the air from the villa is extracted of a central ventilation system. The house is heated by a central heating system combined with an air pump. Warm water will be generated using a biomass pellet stove, in which wood will be fired from the wood out of the private forest of the estate. Electricity will be generated from the PV-cells on the roof and in the near future also from the planned windmill.

Villa-Kogelhof-By-Paul-de-Ruiter-Architects-22-public-domain Villa Kogelhof / Paul de Ruiter Architects

© public domain

Project Data:

Project name: Villa Kogelhof
Location: Kamperland, Zeeland, Netherlands
Coordinates: 51.567567, 3.690172

  • Type By Characteristic: Modern House
  • Type By Site: Countryside / Suburb House
  • Type By Size: Large House – (more than 650 sqm)
  • Type By Structural: Glass House

Program: Autarkic villa with garage for multiple cars
Site Area: 25-hectare
Gross floor area: 715 sqm
Volume: 2.400 m³
Design Year: October 2006
Construction Year: 2009 – 2013
Status: Completed
Cost: $3.5 million
Completion Year: January 2013



  • 2016 – The German Design Council Award – German Design Award – Category: Excellent Communications Design > Architecture – Winner
  • 2014 – Architizer A+ Awards – Typology Categories – Residential: Single Family Home L >3000 sq.ft – Popular Choice Winner & Jury Winner
  • 2014 – AIT Award – Category: Living – 1st prize
  • 2013 – ARC Awards – The Dutch ARC Architecture Award
  • 2013 – FIABCI Prix d’Excellence Award – Category: Sustainable Development & Residential (Low Rise)

The people:

Client / Owner / Developer: Private
Architects: Paul de Ruiter Architects – Valschermkade 36D, 1059 CD Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Project Architect: Paul de Ruiter
Project Team: Willem Jan Landman, Noud Paes, Marieke Sijm, Willeke Smit
Interior designer: Paul de Ruiter Architects
Facade Construction: Si-X.nl
Contractor: Bouwbedrijf Van de Linde
Advisor Construction: Broersma
Advisor Building Physics: Smits van Burgst
Advisor Costs: Studio Bouwhaven
Landscape Architect: Bosch Slabbers, Middelburg
Steel structure: Meijers Staalbouw
Lighting: InventDesign
Text Description: © Courtesy of Paul de Ruiter Architects, Alexandra Onderwater, Thiele Glas
Images: © Paul de Ruiter Architects, Jeroen Musch


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Villa Kogelhof / Paul de Ruiter Architects
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