Driving the narrow provincial roads in the northwestern part of Holland is surprisingly breathtaking. Just under twenty kilometers from the country’s bustling Schiphol Airport, an unpretentious and modest landscape of farmland, dikes and water looms into view. Small villages link into each other seamlessly where town squares and church towers are plentiful. Just on the outskirts of one of these villages, tucked away between grassland and a lake, an eye-catching building emerges, contrasting sharply with the surrounding traditional – and a wee bit boring – Dutch A-frame architecture. Nicknamed the ‘Silo’, this large steel cube houses the office of a young team of architects and a mega residence for the retired master builder who started the original firm decades ago.
It was 1978 when Harry van Rijn founded his architect firm. When his son, Jasper van Rijn, followed in his footsteps, they worked together for a number of years before Harry called it quits. In 2008, Jasper partnered up with his longtime friend and fellow architect Carlo Abdul and together took charge of the company. No longer a family business, they changed the name from Rijn Architecten to ENZO Architecten, which loosely translates as “et cetera architects” . With a new name intended to convey a style of architecture that goes beyond the exterior, the next generation of young architects took on their first big project: the Silo. The striking result is located on the dike in the small town of Burgerveen, where the cubic Silo stands four floors tall and multi-functions as office space, art studio and residence. Van Rijn senior slowly settled into his position on the sideline, giving Jasper and Carlo free range in designing a new home for him and his wife, located on the two top floors.