Plan Documentation The Eco House


  • Frederique van Andel TU Delft, Architecture and the Built Environment
  • Dick van Gameren TU Delft, Architecture and the Built Environment
  • Dirk van den Heuvel TU Delft, Architecture and the Built Environment
  • Jacques Vink RUIMTELAB Architecten
  • Piet Vollaard TU Delft, Architecture and the Built Environment


The plan documentation for the seventh issue of DASH presents a series of exemplary ecological houses. The majority of them are detached or situated in rural areas or suburbs; two are townhouses, one of which is even an example of stacked individual dwellings. Together they demonstrate how architectural design can contribute to solving the problem of sustainability.

Although sustainability is a relatively new issue within architecture, one can find various historical examples that reveal an especial awareness about climate solutions in regard to creating a comfortable living environment, like the Jacobs House 2 by Frank Lloyd Wright, or the entire oeuvre of a pioneer like Ralph Erskine. When environmental awareness began to penetrate to politics and the general public in the late 1960s and early 1970s, we also see the first answers appearing in architecture – for instance, the well-known domes in North America, of which the Zome House by Steve Baer is a special exponent. Later examples of sustainable architecture coupled with an aware manner of living focused on ecological and social values instead of consumption are mainly found in Germany, which has been a trendsetter in this regard since the 1980s. Of these, the Baumhäuser designed by Frei Otto, Hermann Kendel and collaborating architects is a radical experiment that holds many lessons for the future. The Solarhaus in Switzerland by Otto Kolb, also from the 1980s, combines a holistic, psychoecological approach with a generous, almost glossy interior design that we recognize from lifestyle magazines. As of the 1990s, residential architecture has become almost inseparably connected with lifestyle and sustainability, something which, by the way, already happened in the USA in the 1940s in the pages of the Ladies’ Home Journal, which presented the first experiments with solar houses, including designs by Frank Lloyd Wright and Philip Johnson.

The most recent houses in this series each demonstrate an idiosyncratic solution to this combination of lifestyle, the home and sustainable architecture. In the Latapie House by Lacaton & Vassal, a generous living space was realized on an extremely limited budget through the creation of a two-storey high conservatory in a rough-and-ready architectural idiom. The Hoogland Living-Working House and Casa Weeber are examples of owner/builders and of an owner/architect, situations which made it possible to realize extremely expressive and powerful architecture. The three final houses, Villa Welpeloo by 2012Architecten, the Loblolly House by KieranTimberlake Associates and Casa Muro by FAR Frohn & Rojas, are examples of contemporary dwellings that combine a modernistic design idiom with an remarkably inventive use of materials to reveal new, unexpected qualities.

Author Biographies

Frederique van Andel, TU Delft, Architecture and the Built Environment

Frederique van Andel holds a Master’s degree in both urban planning and architecture from Delft University of Technology. She worked for Mecanoo architecten and DP6 architectuurstudio in Delft, and lived in Barcelona where she worked with architect Toni Gironès. Since 2006, Frederique is a researcher and lecturer in the Global Housing research group of the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment of TU Delft. Her main topic of interest is affordable housing for growing cities in the Global South. Frederique curated the exhibition ‘Global Housing – Affordable Dwellings for Growing Cities’ (2016) with venues in Delft and Addis Ababa. She is editor of the book series DASH (Delft Architectural Studies on Housing) and coordinates and edits the online Platform for Affordable Dwelling (PAD). Frederique teaches Master courses on Global Housing Design and Bachelor courses on Plan Analysis. She is project manager for the research project ‘Addis Ababa Living Lab: Creating Resilient Dwelling Clusters for Urban Resettlement in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’, funded by the Dutch Research Council and TU Delft (2019-2023).

Dick van Gameren, TU Delft, Architecture and the Built Environment

Dick van Gameren is dean and full professor at the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment of Delft University of Technology, and partner at Mecanoo architecten in Delft, the Netherlands. Combining his work as an architect with a professorship, Van Gameren maintains a critical approach to design by lecturing, researching and publishing. In 2007, Van Gameren won the prestigious Aga Kahn Award for the design of the Dutch Embassy in Ethiopia. In 2008, Van Gameren founded the book series DASH (Delft Architectural Studies on Housing) and is since then editor in chief. At TU Delft. He leads the Global Housing Study Centre and is also board member of the Archiprix foundation, of the Jaap Bakema Study Centre in Rotterdam and of the Amsterdam based AMS Institute. He is also a member of the TU Delft Global Initiative Steering Committee.

Dirk van den Heuvel, TU Delft, Architecture and the Built Environment

Dirk van den Heuvel is an associate professor at the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, Delft University of Technology. He also heads the Jaap Bakema Study Centre at Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam. Books he (co-)authored include Jaap Bakema and the Open Society (2018), Team 10: In Search of a Utopia of the Present 1953-1981 (2005) and Architecture and the Welfare State (2014). He is a member of the editorial board of the online journal for architecture theory Footprint, and he was an editor of the journal OASE (1993-1999). Van den Heuvel was curator of the Dutch national pavilion for the Venice architecture biennale in 2014. In 2017 he received a Richard Rogers Fellowship from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

Piet Vollaard, TU Delft, Architecture and the Built Environment

Piet Vollaard is the director of ArchiNed, an architect, a teacher at various Academies for Architecture and Delft University of Technology, and the author of, among others, Herman Haan, architect and the Guide to Modern Architecture in the Netherlands.