A 100 year old sanitary building is a far cry from a modern day house. The transition from one the the other is the central theme of building A12 on the heritage site Hembrug, just north of Amsterdam. The first step was dividing the building into 10 spaces of roughly 25 m2 creating a chessboard pattern. Pushing a squares down to the ground creates intimate gardens that allow light to penetrate deep into the building. Pulling the squares up creates bedrooms on the private second floor.
The light conditions in the monument were pretty poor, as the building was never designed as a comfortable place to stay. The patio gardens allow light to penetrate deep into the building, turning the building into playful family homes where volumes alternate between open and closed. Life happens just as much outside as inside. The green identity of the adjacent Hembrug forest connects beautifully to the dotted internal gardens.