In the open polder landscape of dikes and small islands near Rotterdam, the Terphouse is situated as a solid volume on a mound in the landscape. The means used to make the house sustainable and ready for more extreme climate conditions became the main elements of the design, most apparent in the characteristic canopy and underground level with the protruding patios.

The house is dug in the artificial mound on the island, situating the living spaces on the first level and the bedrooms and secondary rooms underground. This makes that from the living spaces the open landscape is perceived over the dikes. By folding the landscape around the house, a connection with the garden is made possible and the house is perceived as a modest solid in the landscape.

The climate in the lowest level is moderated by the surrounding soil, while the protruding patios provide for sufficient daylight and an intimate atmosphere. On the top level the patio structures the sequence of spaces and provides for visual relationships between the rooms.

The pronounced wooden beam structure is continuous from the interior to the exterior and forms a canopy on the south facade. As a result, the boundary between the living room, veranda, outdoor rooms and the patio becomes indistinct and the landscape flows into the house.