Bolwolingen Sphere Houses
Being described as living in your own bubble is actually an accurate expression if it just so happens you are a resident of one of the Bolwolingen Sphere Houses in ‘s-Hertogenbosch in Holland, or Piet Blom’s Kubuswoningen in Rotterdam.
” Think giant golf balls, they are pretty futuristic but are actually houses that people still live in today”
Dries Kreijkamp was a man ahead of his time, but also with a foot rooted in the past, a past filled with Sputnik, Echo 1, NASA’s inflatable Mylar balloon and living in the shadow of Expo58’s Atomium, just up the road in Brussels. It’s as if he wanted to anchor to the earth space-age ideas, reminding us that the planet was beautiful. Was his curiosity about the possibility of spherical living nourished by Hollands’ post-war interest in experimental housing projects? Government subsidies allowed a generation of creative architects to think out of the box, or should one say in this instance globe. It was a gift to the man who said
“We all live on a sphere, so why not in a sphere?”
“As an experiment, I think Dries Kreijkamp was a little off the mark. Architecturally I think they are wonderful, they have that SciFi, communist, futuristic brutalism about them which I adore, who doesn’t love concrete? They were built the same year as Piet Blom’s Cube houses in Rotterdam, but they don’t quite fit into a medium-sized suburb. Rotterdam was flattened during the war which gave it an opportunity to reinvent itself, the Blom cube houses fit nicely into the other oddities and extremes of modern architecture of the city. These are a lesser know oddity but a wonderful one.”
“The reply was: We already have some, thank you very much. I found this shocking in its ignorance”
But a man with a dream can never be held back, and until the end of his life in 2014 the architect who dreamt out of the box kept on coming up with fresh ideas in experimental living.
As well as being a dab hand with a camera, she’s a cigar specialist, so naturally, we had to ask for the inside groove on her favourites. She shared as only a professional would ‘Cubans: Por Larrañaga, Partagas, El Rey Del Mundo, Cohiba and La Gloria Cubana. Dutch (of course), De Olifant, Justus Van Maurik, Jacob Van Meer and De Huifkar.
Photos of the exterior of the bulb houses by Fabiénne O Sullivan © Photos of interior and blueprint by Super Formosa Photography Jaap Joris Vens ©