The history of Huize Piranesi is the transition of a farmhouse where the peasant family and their livehood used to live together under one roof, into a family house with space for meetings, seminars and performances.
In the beginning of the seventies, the house welcomed the philosophers Noam Chomsky and Michel Foucault, Leszek Kolakowski, Arne Naess and Karl Popper. The unusual structure, quiet atmosphere, and evident hospitality of the place were an excellent environment for getting to know each other in advance of the TV-debates The debates took place in the Aula of the Amsterdam University; the International School for Philosophy in Leusden; het Binnenhof in The Hague, and the Technical University Eindhoven during the International Philosophers Project. The debates belong to the highlights of Dutch public television.
Inspired by students of the Amsterdam Academy for Architecture, Urban Planning and Landscape and by the centuries old Zeevang-polder, Elders developed the Experimental Landscape Project “De Zeevang”. Both the roof of the Stolp; the environment of the house; meadows; dike and IJsselmeer lake, were part of the artworks, inspired by two themes: Water- Fire-Earth-Air and Life-and-Death are each other friends.
During the seventies and eighties, the house was the setting for exotic parties, usually the evening before Ascension Day. Examples of these are the performance kimono fashion show and La Valise – Symbool van verre reizen.
The house also served as location for movies, such as Mijn Nachten met Susan, Olga, Albert, Julie, Piet & Sandra Director & producer Pim de la Parra and Wim Verstappen. A sex&psycho suspense mystery thriller, with a.o. Willeke van Ammelrooy and Nelly Frijda. , Lieve Jongens Director Paul de Lussanet featuring a.o. Hugo Metsers (Wolfbroer), Hans Dagelet (Woelrat), Bill van Dijk (Tijger). , De Olifant Director Carlos Hubert Schröder and Masterclass by Director Hans Teeuwen (2005). Featuring Pierre Bokma, Peer Mascini, Ellen Vogel, Kees Hulst, Annet Nieuwenhuijzen, Gijs Scholten van Aschat, Monic Hendirckx, Halina Reijn, Cas Enklaar.
The house and its environment, including the lake, were an inspiring location for another TV-project: a course on systematic philosophy for Teleac-TV. This took place in 1972 under the title: Analyze Decondition. All lectures but one were filmed in or around the farmhouse.
During the transformation of the farmhouse, a so-called ‘Stolp’, into Huize Piranesi, Elders used the existing construction to its fullest extent. Since the 17th century the ‘stolp’ or ‘stelp’ is a unique, characteristic building construction of farms in the province North-Holland. The farmer family lived in the front of the house, under one fourth of the gigantic roof, while the cows, calfs and their livehood occupied three-quarter of the space.
The roof of the ‘stolp’ rests on four trunks which together form a perfect, open square: 6 x 6 meter. The 10-meter high trunks with their diagonal branches support the horizontal beams of the square. Due to this construction, the walls have no bearing function. Height, lenght and width of the ‘stolp’ are equivalent: 14 x 14 x 14 meter. The square, being the centre of Huize Piranesi, is surrounded on four sides by a gallery that opens a huge space, connecting the lower and higher levels.
The Italian architect, engineer and artist Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1792) has been a source of inspiration during the transformation process, because “he was convinced that it was only through architecture that he could exploit all his talents and revolutionize the world, that is, the manner and places in which people live…he enabled people to ‘see’ in a new and therefore unimaginable way.” (Luigi Ficacci)