The first pyramid house in the Netherlands was developed by architects Gerard Schouten and Gerrit de Jonge. It was built in the ecological centre "De Kleine Aarde" nearby the city Boxtel. The design is part of an ecological way of living: the starting point was to realize an environmental friendly way of living. The architects wanted to realize a house with a different shape than traditional houses and comply with the request for another style of living. Because of the simple wooden frame, it is possible to build your own house yourself. The angle of the pyramid combined with the big windows on the south side results in a decrease of the total energy consumption.
Since 1977 ecological centre "De Kleine Aarde" wanted to have a license for experimental houses and life styles. This would enable them to develop houses and manners of life, which are more ecological and environmental friendly. In 1979 the ministry of housing gave them this license, so that city councils would be able to build houses developed in this center. In the first place the ministry did not want to give this license, because this centre was too experimental.
In 1983 Cris Zijdeveld, alderman at that time in the city "Schiedam", officially put into use the ecological pyramid project at "De Kleine Aarde" in Boxtel. Having this project in mind, a group enthusiastic people had plans to start a similar project in Schiedam to build these pyramids to live in. To execute these plans independently without any interference from project developers or the city, they started their own non-profit organization to build these pyramids. This organization could act as a corporate body to negotiate with the community to realize their ideal houses.
The architects Schouten and de Jonge formulated the philosophy of living in a pyramid house as follows: living in a pyramid has to be something like wearing a coat. Not too big, but also not too small. It has to fit. Not too big, because you can feel lost and lonely in your own house; not too small, because it can give tight pressed feelings. Living in a pyramid should be a different way of living towards a more ecological way of building and living, which tries to respect our environment as much as possible. Also it has to be a way to let people live together in peace and harmony.Maquette
A few starting points for realizing this project were the following: the future habitants had to be able to build their own house themselves; this would also result in a lower cost price of the pyramid as well. They had to use environmental friendly materials or environmental friendly produced materials as many as possible. Also no community grants (in the Netherlands you can get a grant for building houses, but then has to fulfil certain conditions) were used to build these houses: this gave a larger freedom in the materials which could be used and everybody could make their own housing plan.
When you want to build a house yourself, you have to have a lot of spare time and craftsmanship skills. Therefore the choice was made for partially do-it-yourself building. Only the fundaments and air and watertight outer walls (=roofs) were built by a construction company, while everything else had to be done by yourself.
The boars for city-development visited "De Kleine Aarde" in 1987 and showed much sympathy for the pyramid project in Schiedam after return. Together with this board a suitable place to build 16 pyramids was searched. Finally, a good place was found nearby the "Faassenplein" street next to a park. Now real plans could be worked out. Together with a civil engineer a setup was made, which resulted into a 3D model of the pyramid community and was shown to the board. After a positive advice from this board, all kinds of procedures had to be dealt with before it was possible to start building. The expectation was raised that the building could start within a year. This was an understatement. Procedures seemed endless and absolutely not hope giving. Despite of this, after 3 years of following procedures etc. nobody gave up hope and in October 1990 the first pile was rammed in the ground.