CLEARLY still in our concrete design phase here at TIG, for everything we happen across made of this seemingly lowly material catches our eye. This week, it’s the Möbius House, a residential building located in Het Gooi, Netherlands. Commissioned by a Dutch couple in 1993, the request was for a home to fit different aspects of family life around their daily routines: from sleeping and working, to playing and dining. As such, the Möbius House was designed with an intertwining trajectory that aligns the working spaces and bedrooms, with collective areas positioned at the intersections. Located in Het Gooi, a green residential area near Amsterdam, the site is surrounded by meadows and tall beech trees.
photography by Christian Richters & Eva Bloem
Designed by the Dutch architect Ben van Berkel and his firm UNStudio between 1993 and 1998, the house was named after the Möbius strip, a mathematical concept that inspired its design. Situated on a sloping site, the home consists of two levels, with a third level partially submerged into the ground. The house has a unique shape that appears to twist and turn, with the walls and roof flowing seamlessly into each other. The continuous surface of the building is made of reinforced concrete, which was moulded on site using a formwork system.
One of the most striking features of the Möbius House is its use of light and shadow. The building has numerous openings, including large windows and skylights, that allow natural light to penetrate deep into the interior. The interplay of light and shadow creates a dynamic and ever-changing atmosphere throughout the day.
The interior of the Möbius House is organised around a central staircase that connects the various levels and spaces. The living areas are located on the upper level, while the bedrooms and bathrooms are on the lower level. The partially submerged level contains a pool and sauna.
The Möbius House is considered a landmark of contemporary architecture and has won several awards, including the 1999 Dutch Betonprijs for its innovative use of concrete. The building’s unique form and seamless integration with its surroundings have inspired many architects and designers around the world.
Designed for people
As mentioned above, the design of the Möbius House is a direct response to the request to shape this family home around the daily lives of its occupants. The flows of their working and family lives were addressed, while the home itself was integrated into the surrounding natural landscape.
We mentioned earlier that this home was named after the Möbius strip, a mathematical concept that inspired its design. But what exactly is the Möbius strip? First discovered by the German mathematician and astronomer August Ferdinand Möbius in 1858, this mathematical concept is a non-orientable surface, meaning that it does not have a distinguishable “top” or “bottom” side. To create a Möbius strip, take a long strip of paper or ribbon and give it a half-twist before joining the ends together to form a loop. If you trace your finger along the surface of the strip, you will notice that you can travel along both sides of the loop without ever crossing over to the other side.
One interesting property of the Möbius strip is that it only has one edge and one side: if you start at any point on the edge and trace your finger along it, you will eventually end up back at the same point on the same side of the strip, without ever crossing over to the other side. The Möbius strip has many applications in mathematics, science, and engineering, and has been used to study topology, geometry, and algebra, as well as to model various physical phenomena such as the behaviour of electrons in a magnetic field. It has also inspired artists, architects, and designers, who have incorporated its unique properties into their work.