De Doorzonwoning


Size: Variable

Material: Wood, fabric, paper, plastic

Project: De Strip

Place: Vlaardingen, The Netherlands

De Doorzonwoning, the ‘look through’ or the ‘light through’ house, is about Dutch architecture and a Calvinist ideal the home in which the inhabitants keep everything open as they have nothing to hide. By this time I had been living for quite a while in the Netherlands and no longer wanted simply to ‘fit in’, but had started looking more critically at my surroundings. Though it seems as if everything is transparent in these houses at first, you find your gaze is always being directed to what the tenant 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 project was also a reaction to regulations, for everything about the layout of the Doorzonwoning was predetermined. When you move into one of these apartments you already know where the living room and the bedroom are going to be, and where to put the sofa and the TV.

This work was about searching for home, and among the questions I asked myself were, what is a 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 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 the former tenants, the color, the smell, the neighborhood. I brought only what I absolutely needed with me when I moved to this apartment; the rest I started to create. I decided to build my own ‘home’ by reacting to the place and working in it. Lifestyle and work were therefore interconnected.