"Vertical Loft" Is Designed Around a Giant, Three-Story Closet

© René de Wit, Jeroen Musch/ Shift A+U;

If you like books, you will love the "Vertical Loft" in Rotterdam, by Shift Architecture and Urbanism. A reconstruction of a pre-war townhouse, it is organized around what the architects describe as follows:

...[It is] one oversized closet that connects all floors. It functions as a storage device for the whole house. This piece of XXL furniture, measuring 10 meters in length and 9 meters in height, replaces the load bearing middle wall of the original house. Its modular system integrates kitchen appliances, bookshelves, wardrobe, and a walk-in closet. The introduction of a central void reinforces the presence of the closet.

© René de Wit, Jeroen Musch/ Shift A+U

The go on to say:

The void enables diagonal views through the house in which the closet is experienced in its full height. It also makes daylight penetrate far into the 14 meter deep house. Two steel stairs in the void make the bookshelves accessible and create a vertical circulation along and through the closet.

© Shift A+U

It is a wonderful mix of the old and new.

© René de Wit, Jeroen Musch/ Shift A+U

Industrial materials such as the phenol-coated multiplex of the closet and the polyurethane flooring are balanced by the longitudinal brick wall that is left bare, the stained glass and the original doors that are restored and re-used. The roughness of the wall, full with traces of the past, tells stories about the continuous makeovers that the house has undergone in the last hundred years.

© René de Wit, Jeroen Musch/ Shift A+U

The architects explain the background of the development:

This so-called do-it-yourself dwelling in the centre of Rotterdam is part of a bold experiment initiated by the municipality to revitalize dilapidated urban areas. Rundown pre-war dwellings are renovated on the outside and brought back to their monumental appearance, while the interiors are stripped bare. The empty shell
dwellings are primarily bought by enthusiastic young people who transform them. Real estate developers have picked up the initiative and a new demand driven market of urban housing has been generated in recent years. The result is a growing number of contemporary custom-made dream houses within the uniform old fabric of the traditional nineteenth and early twentieth century city.

One of a Kind Design/Screen capture

I found this on Materialicious, which links to One of a Kind Design. The website has tagged all the recognizable furniture and the fat books that they can read the titles of to online stores like Amazon, where they get a commission if readers click through and buy. I can't decide if it is a brilliant way to build your own living from an architecture site, or if it's an obnoxious ripoff of the architect's design and photography. What do you think?

Tags: Books | Netherlands | renovation