Ready to meet another housing model that could prove to be a game changer for the residential building market? Introducing the Tetris House—dubbed “row housing with a 360-degree view” by the Dutch National Press agency. This modular building system from Universe Architecture founder and Dutch architect Janjaap Ruijssenaars draws on the concept of the cult-classic 1980s video game to form a structure of individual homes through a system of interlocking blocks.
When presented with a housing design competition and faced with a challenge from a client who asked for multiple houses on a small plot of land, all with 360-degree views, Ruijssenaars started to experiment. He found inspiration from the Unite d’Habitation by Le Corbusier, which utilizes the penetration of a volume in one direction, and discovered that by combining this technique with a twisted second floor, he could form a geometrically perfect, fully open structure of homes.
Each individual home spans over two floors, measures a total of a little less than 1,900 square feet, and includes an additional 500-square-foot rooftop terrace. Slotted into a meccano-style (think erector set) steel structure, the blocks, which measure 160 feet by 160 feet, can be configured on top of each other and next to each other to create each dwelling. Residents can place bathrooms, bedrooms, kitchens, etc., wherever they want, giving them freedom to design the home around their individual needs. If need be, the blocks of the Tetris House can be moved later with a crane to create a new layout. Residents can also choose to add elements to the facades of the homes, such as balconies, shutters, or shades and screens. The original Tetris House design, says Ruijssenaars, is just one of many configurations that could be conceived.
“The Tetris House building method gives way for an endless array of possibilities,” says Ruijssenaars. “One can connect in all directions with all sorts of lengths.”
The design is soon to be more than just a concept. The first Tetris House is ready for international production and will be first built in Leimuiden, the Netherlands. The design can be licensed to interested developers, and the price to build will be based on local pricing standards, but will remain low due to the prefab nature of the design.
“The free piling, interior freedom and the library of facade elements could give way for an elegantly new liberal way of living,” says Ruijssenaars.