Kralingen Townhouse

A former museum building transformed into an energy-neutral home
  • villas
  • energy neutral
    energy neutral

This historic townhouse stands on one of Rotterdam’s oldest streets. The building previously served as the premises of the Kralings Museum, before its transformation into the luxurious and completely energy-neutral home that it is today. Our design retains the spaciousness that defined the building in its former incarnation but within a completely new layout.

We tailored the modifications to the needs of its occupants while retaining the features that gave the original building its authentic character.

A stepped, northern façade for daylight admission

The renovations retain the building’s conformity with zoning regulations regarding historic street-facing facades. The view from the garden, however, offers something completely different. Here, the facade is stepped, modern and minimalist, features balconies with narrow steel railings and loggias with floor-to-ceiling windows and glass doors, and boasts handmade Kolumba brick masonry.

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The luxury of space

Our design expands the already generous volumes to enhance the experience of spaciousness while retaining the features that gave the original interior its authentic character. A large, open-plan kitchen on the ground floor is bracketed at each end by seating areas, creating a volume of almost unbroken dimensions from the front of the building to its rear. Overlooking the garden at the rear end of the ground floor are a living room and dining room, occupying spaces partially demarcated by the solid wall that separates them, which is neatly punched through by a fireplace. A stairwell, positioned to capture sunlight, leads from the living area to the first floor, which we have devoted to bedrooms and bathrooms, and to the second, which accommodates a guest room, a study and a lounge that boasts a loggia and an indoor spa.

We selected building materials on their ecological, sustainable and renewable merit.
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Six energy sources facilitate energy-efficiency without compromising comfort

One of our main objectives was to create a home that would be a joy to live in despite its minimal energy needs. Thus arose a building services engineering challenge, which we met by employing six independent sources of energy for indoor temperature regulation. Walls and ceilings are designed to heat and cool the rooms as efficiently as possible. The house is also equipped with two heat pumps, a closed thermal storage system and two wood burning stoves — one of which is climate-responsive and connected directly to the hot water system. Finally, a 20-metre-long thermal mass wall in the garden absorbs and stores heat during the day, releasing it slowly according to indoor heating requirements.

Project details


Location Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Total floor area 461 m²
Project Spacious townhouse with indoor spa
Project completion August 2015

Project Team

Client Diderot Development
Design Paul de Ruiter Architects
Project architect Paul de Ruiter in collaboration with Chris Collaris
Project team Marieke Sijm, Wouter Oostendorp
Interior design Diderot Development
Interior design and execution 13 Speciaal
Contractor Aannemingsbedrijf Kokshoorn B.V.
Mechanical engineering Diderot Development
Photography Tim van de Velde