De Doorzonwoning


Medium: Wood, fabric, paper, plastic

Dimensions: Various

Project name: De Strip by Jeanne van Heeswijk

Location: Vlaardingen, the Netherlands

De Doorzonwoning – the “look through” or the “light through” house – is about Dutch architecture and the Calvinist ideal of home, in which the inhabitants keep everything open as they have nothing to hide. By this time, I had been living in the Netherlands for quite a while, and no longer wanted to simply “fit in,” and had started looking at my surroundings more critically. At first, it seems that everything is transparent in these houses, but you find your gaze is always directed to what the inhabitant of the house wants you to see – what you get to see is thus always in a sense staged. It is never simply transparent, never simply open; or rather, it is not as open and transparent as it claims or wants to be. That’s why I built a tunnel running through the house, which, by means of periscopic mirrors, allows one to see one end of it from the other. 


This work was about searching for home, and I posed questions such as what is home? And how much of it is physical and how much mental? Can I make my home in a place I don’t belong to? At the time, I had the project’s location in mind, a suburb of Rotterdam; but now, looking back, I think this question can be applied to the whole country and to my experience of being a foreigner there. Instead of bringing my own furniture and painting the walls to my liking, my work was a reaction to the house itself, its empty walls, the traces of former tenants, the color, the smell, and the neighborhood. When I moved into this apartment, I brought with me only what I absolutely needed. I started to create the rest. I decided to build my own “home” by reacting to the place and working in it. Lifestyle and work were therefore interconnected.