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Today we’ll show you a 20th-century house in Rotterdam, which has been overhauled by Shift Architecture Urbanism to create two light-filled apartments. The Rotterdam-based studio was tasked with renovating the derelict four-storey residence by a neighbour, who bought the property after being troubled by its neglected condition. The result is a stunning house with exposed brick walls and an industrial lighting design to die for.
Both flats feature open-plan living areas with lounges at the rear, the kitchen in the centre and the dining room at the front. The architects restored the street facade but removed the back wall entirely to open the lounges to the garden.
The wall is replaced with a galvanised steel structure that allows for three large openings. Sliding glass doors open the partial basement to the garden, while full-height windows illuminate the floor above and a trio of floor-to-ceiling double doors open to a small balcony on the lower level of the second flat.
Sixties and seventies. Scofield is a very technical and functional lamp. The diffusers rotate allowing different light focuses. Its structure is handmade in brass and the lampshades in aluminum.
Inside, the interiors are stripped back to reveal a wall of existing brickwork with plaster markings, and the wooden roof trusses.
The top floor of each flat has a different layout to make the most of the natural light available.
In the lower apartment, two bedrooms and a bathroom are contained in a box suspended above the centre of the living space. The box hangs over the kitchen, leaving voids at either end for a 14-metre-high lounge facing the garden and a dining area beside the entrance.
Glass doors with turquoise-painted frames and mesh balustrades open from the bedrooms onto the living space below. A second opening contains one of the building’s original stained-glass windowpanes placed within a new frame.
Inverting this layout, the upper apartment features bedrooms, rather than the voids, placed against the facades of its top floor. This opens up the centre of the lower floor to a large skylight in the roof of the building.
A steel-clad volume running along the side of the living space encases a brightly coloured staircase – red in the lower apartment and electric blue in the upper one. Steel panels in the volume also conceal a toilet, storage space and kitchen equipment in each flat. Kitchen islands are set in the centre of the space in front and are clad in bright white tiles.
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