Third life for monumental villa

Villa Serphos

  1. cooperating
  2. designing research
  3. the strength of visualisation
  4. empathy
  5. Saxion
  6. renovation

In 1910, architect H. Reijgers built a villa in the Urban Expansion Plan 'De Stadsmaten' of Enschede for Izaak Serphos, a merchant who became successful in the lumber trade. Almost 30 years later, the house was sold and converted into the Natural History Museum of Enschede and was expanded with a new wing in the 1950s. When the museum moves to the Twentse Welle in the district of Roombeek in 2007, Saxion University buys the buildings to build new constructions on that spot and uses the museum for education until 2012. After this, a process of demolition, restoration and new construction was started, which in 2015 resulted in the new faculty of Saxion Edith Stein, including the restored Villa Serphos which became the meeting and reception centre of Saxion University.

hall trappenhuis
gele kamer
groene kamer
zicht door Edith Stein


The transformation from residence to museum was not the best thing for the villa: special details and (structural) parts were removed or added to create suitable exhibition spaces. To restore the property to its state at the time it was resided in and at the same time meet Saxion's practical wishes, old elements have been combined with modern additions. It was not to get a historicising, but a contemporary interior that would do justice to the richness of colours and textures from earlier times and would at the same time meet the current requirements of comfort, function and durability.

After the demolition of the expansion and a thorough restoration of the villa, there are now five conference rooms, the largest of which is the 'green' conference room on the first floor. On the ground floor, a kitchen has been created and the former lounge and living room now serve as a restaurant. The hall is restored to its former glory and given plenty of natural light again, after the characteristic light tower with flagpole and decorative fence has been repositioned on the roof. Balconies and original columns have been rebuilt wherever possible.

The plastered facades are painted in a colour scheme derived from Italian Renaissance villas. This differs from the original monochrome situation, but enhances the ornamentation of the facade better.

Share this project on