The southern façade, which features seating that overlooks the clay tennis courts.
MVRDV The southern façade, which features seating that overlooks the clay tennis courts.

Rotterdam, Netherlands–based firm MVRDV completed “The Couch,” a recreational clubhouse located on a man-made island east of Amsterdam for a youth tennis club. Construction started back in April 2014, along with Barneveld, Netherlands–based Studio Bouwkunde and Dutch contractor Ballast Nedam Buouw. The new building resides on one of the six artificial islands, named IJburg, which became available to inhabit in 2008. Currently, 16,000 residents live within this new district, which is slated to have at least 18,000 homes for an estimated 45,000.

Projects like this serve as initiatives to attract more people into moving there. Spanning roughly 3,465 square feet, the concrete complex features a roof that dips into the south-facing façade, and rises about 23 feet on the north side with seating built into the angled figures. The project garnered its casual name because it provides a central gathering area for the surrounding environment, cradling a 118-foot-long volume that can comfortably seat 200 people. Featured interior amenities also include dressing rooms, a kitchen, storage, and restrooms.

With views to the IJburg lake to the north, an undulating glass partition lines the top of the curved terrace for the safety of visitors, but the transparency allows the bold construction to contrast against the horizon. The bright red hue of the exterior, which matches the 10 surrounding clay tennis courts and dividing fences, is maintained with an EDSM polymer hotspray.

The interior’s ceiling, which follows the same form as the dipping terrace, is clad with several slats of wood, giving an ethereal feel against the encasing glass walls. The southern façade’s slanted roof and reduced glass surface actually helps to cool the building, when the site will utilize natural ventilation during more temperate months. During the winter months, it will rely on a district heating system powered by a heat exchanger.

The terraced seating likens an amphitheater setup, but features alternating curves from top to bottom. 
MVRDV The terraced seating likens an amphitheater setup, but features alternating curves from top to bottom. 
From the exterior of the clubhouse, to the metal fences dividing the clay tennis courts, red wholly dominates this site. 
MVRDV From the exterior of the clubhouse, to the metal fences dividing the clay tennis courts, red wholly dominates this site. 
The club house of the IJburg Tennis Club is free to the public all year long. During the weekends, it is transformed into a restaurant.
MVRDV The club house of the IJburg Tennis Club is free to the public all year long. During the weekends, it is transformed into a restaurant.
The clubhouse's interiors, which features a wood-paneled ceiling.
MVRDV The clubhouse's interiors, which features a wood-paneled ceiling.
With its current 16,000 residents, the site serves as a clubhouse to the community.
MVRDV With its current 16,000 residents, the site serves as a clubhouse to the community.


Editor's Note: A previous version stated that the volume was 118 square feet, instead of 188 feet long.