The Beacon

A focal point that facilitate multiple uses

Amsterdam | NL

The Unbound is an estate in a rural area on the outskirts of Amsterdam, featuring public gardens, a restaurant and bar, wellness facilities and a collection of hotelsuites scattered among a newly created, but typically Dutch landscape. Studio Appelo developed the overall concept and design philosophy for Unbound. Based on fluidity and trust, it dissolves boundaries between inside and outside and between private and public space, allows for an open mind about unexpected functions, and trusts that this freedom of design will lead to something beautiful.

The Beacon is the largest building on the estate, at the centre of what almost feels like a small town. Wallking west across the central bridge you are immediately drawn towards its detached chimney. The paired down utilitarian architecture of The Beacon is reminiscent of agricultural structures, and the building was designed to provide a focal point and facilitate multiple uses - from a wedding spilling out into the town square, to a private board meeting or a yoga class.

Barn door sized shutters can close the huge windows, thus giving the choice between a completely private or completely open space. When fully opened the shutters align exactly with the walled sections, and the division between outside and inside seems to disappear. The brick floors enhance this effect even more. The Beacon is raised off the ground with masonry steps that continue inside, and it’s easy to imagine the structure as the stage for a musical or theatrical performance. Inside a fireplace forms the heart of the building and creates a powerful backdrop for the variety of activities the Beacon can host.

The structure of the building combines the old technique of trusses with the new technique of prefabricated walls and roof elements. This way, the construction emanates a vibe of authentic craftsmanschip, while building time, cost and carbon footprint are greatly reduced.

Made from local clay raw Oberon bricks and unfinished, native spruce, the building relates to its natural environment - almost as if it evolved organically right at this spot.


Renée Appelo
Lars Goossens


Peter Mann