Designed for The Hague Housing Festival, The Hague Villas project sought to encourage a new interpretation of the single-family home. In 1991, the city of The Hague invited seven international architects to design a house project in one of the city’s outlying neighborhoods. Two rows of four houses on identical lots occupy a site between a residential boulevard, a canal and gardens. On the two lots allocated to her, Zaha Hadid tackled the challenge of defining a new typology for the house, an increasingly conventional type of construction benefiting from little innovation. These two villas, the Cross House and the Spiral House, are formed by the arrangement of their spaces, which, being designed in a way that fosters new spatial and social interactions, are trying to move as far away as possible from preconceived notions about the house.
The design of the Spiral House is organized around the idea of an endlessly ascending floor. This spiral coils upward inside the cubic volume, which is itself defined by the perimeter of the lot, from the entry hall all the way to the living room, then on to the bedrooms. Here and there, the spiral pierces the “rigidity” of the framework. The openings adopt the concept of spiraled evolution by forming a rotating sequence that moves from the solid surface (the walls), to the shuttered windows, then translucent openings and finally transparent ones. The bedrooms and bathrooms are the only spatially delimited areas in the house. The succession of spaces follows in the continuity of the rising spiral. Residual spaces and voids created between the exterior skin and the spiral offer unexpected views and new possibilities of communication within the house.