Vijzelgracht House, located in Amsterdam, is a national heritage site designed by Philips Vingboons in about 1670 as a weaver’s house. It is one of roughly eighty weaver’s houses that have survived. The restoration and renovation of the Vijzelgracht house was carried out by the architects of the Benthem Crouwel agency, who preserved the original layout and kept as much of the original material as possible, in order to preserve the history of the building.

After the departure of the weavers, the house was occupied and used in various ways. This came to an abrupt end in 2008,the City of Amsterdam declared the structure to be uninhabitable. In 2015, the resumption was carried out by the city as part of its heritage preservation policy. The architects then transformed the house into a contemporary family home. The newly added three-floor conservatory, which replaces an 1870 extension deemed unworthy of preservation, enhances contact with this new garden.

Inside the house, combinations of colors and original materials underline the unique features of the layout. The palette ranges from dark tones on the lower floor to bright tones on the attic level. Many original elements are present, adding an authentic aspect to the modernity of the interior design. The careful new detailing combines with the original seventeenth-century elements to give this house a special character. The different rooms, which vary in size from space to space, are bathed in light.

This achievement highlights the diversity of solutions for redeveloping historic sites to make them modern and functional spaces, without distorting their history. The original elements are reused here to meet the practical needs of a family and to contribute to the warmth of this interior space.

Photo credit: Jannes Linders

Architects: Benthem Crouwel