With the technological developments of science, newer and newer architecture is coming into play and the old buildings stand out as landmarks. It’s an entirely different story with the Bolwoningen, t. The ball-shaped houses in the Dutch city of Den Bosch. These houses were conceived in 1984 and to this day look like something out of a Star Wars movie.
An experimental housing program was launched in Denmark in 1968 and these houses, known locally has Bolwoningen were designed by artist and sculptor Dries Kreijkamp in the 70s and the project reached completion in 1984. The program was shut down the same year but these houses stand to this dayand are still impressive more than three decades after their conception.
The 50 Bolowningen are set among lush vegetation and look like mushrooms from some giant planet. Like mushrooms, these houses sit on cylindrical stalk-like structures that contain some storage space and a staircase that leads the people into the house.
Each house is divided into 3 floors. The ground level has the bedrooms, the first floor is where the bathroom is situated and leaving a living room and kitchen at the top. There are six large round windows and a roof light that keep the homes well lit. Even though the living space is only spread over 55 square meters, the house does not feel cramped at all.
The artist behind these houses, Dries Kreijkamp passed away a few years ago but his work lives on and his fascination with spheres goes forward. In an interview he said. “The Eskimos really knew what they were doing, with their igloos. And so do African tribes who build round clay huts. The globe-shape is totally self-evident. It’s the most organic and natural shape possible. After all, roundness is everywhere: we live on a globe, were born from a globe. The globe combines the biggest possible volume with the smallest possible surface area, so you need minimum material for it. It’s space saving, very ecological and nearly maintenance-free. Need I say more?”
The project had its fair share of difficulties and Dries had to make a lot of compromises. He didn’t want the stalk beneath the houses and wanted the houses to be made from polyester to make them lightweight. That would have been a major fire hazard so he was forced to go with two cement concrete layers reinforced with fiberglass and insulated with Rockwool.
The Bolwoningen, located in Den Bosch still look like something from the future because of their location. They reside in a suburban neighborhood in a mid-sized ordinary Dutch town and continue to feel like alien settlements even three decades after their conception.
You can see the houses in the video below: