ONE WEEK ABOUT Designers from Eindhoven
Caspar Schols: builds an innovative garden house for his mother
Caspar Schols is currently studying at the prestigious Architectural Association School of Architecture in London, but Eindhoven remains a special city for him. Because of his youth, because his mother lives there, but also because he has put his signature there: a self-designed and self-built, innovative garden house. The images of it spread around the world.
Caspar Schols (1987) learned it from childhood. ‘Already as a four year old kid my dad took me to construction sites. He was a contractor and project developer, with a passion for architecture. During holidays he showed special buildings and cities and took us to architecture schools.’ Technology also fascinated the young Caspar Schols. ‘While other boys were playing football, I was at the craft club. You automatically get a portion of that in Eindhoven. I also had a special positive feeling about the Philips company.’
Choosing a study was not easy. Schols started with Architecture at Delft University of Technology, but it was not a good match and he switched to Physics at the University of Amsterdam. ‘Also because that city attracted me. I wanted something different.’
Yet he came back to Eindhoven for a graduation year at ASML, the company that produces highly advanced chip machines. And after obtaining his masters, Schols started working at a high tech company. But architecture did not let him go, the creative mindset continued to itch. Especially when his mother told him that she wanted to buy a prefab garden house. He convinced her that he could design and build such a garden house himself.
‘I did the project alongside to my regular job. But it soon took too much time and too much attention. So I quit my job and started working full-time on the garden house, in the garage at the house of my mother – in exchange for board and lodging,’ he says laughing.
Sleep under the starry sky
It certainly is no ordinary garden house. His mother had a long list of requirements. She wanted to be able to stay there summer and winter, in the sun or by a wood fire. To write or paint with a view of the garden or to barbecue with a group on the terrace. And she wanted to be able to sleep under the starry sky. Moreover, there were the limitations of the building permit.
The analogy with changing clothing for different circumstances led Caspar Schols to the idea of a solid floor with sliding parts of glass and wood. The result is an ‘inner shell’ of double glazing and an insulated ‘outer shell’ of wood with a steel roof. In the floor, folding beds are hidden, and an efficient Norwegian wood stove provides heat.
Nomination for architectural prize
For seven months Capar Schols worked on preparation and construction, with the help of family and friends. Successfully. The garden house received a lot of attention nationally and internationally in the press, on the internet and in the professional magazines, and was nominated for an architecture award. And even more important: it put him definitively on the track of architecture and gave him admission to the prestigious Architectural Association School of Architecture in London. In the British capital he lives with his girlfriend Lisanne, who works as a doctor in a hospital. ‘But I am still proud of Eindhoven, which has developed over the past decades from a according to many people not very attractive city to a leading center for design and technology. When I get there, it always feels like a warm homecoming.’
In cooperation with: Eindhoven365
Text: Walter van Hulst
Portrait photos: Rob Stork