House 12k / Dierendonck Blancke Architecten

© Filip Dujardin

Architects: Dierendonck Blancke Architecten
Location: , Belgium
Design Team: Alexander Dierendonck, Isabelle Blancke, Marie Decoene
Engineering: Arthur De Roover, Structure
Surface: 108 sqm
Budget: 145,000 euro
Realisation: 2010
Photographer: Filip Dujardin

© Filip Dujardin

Terraced House 12K
The first steps taken by the architect and the client start with the search of a suitable building site. Under the architect’s advice, two neighboring houses were purchased, which exceeded the budget of the client. However, this allowed them to redefine the plot boundary and construct a new house on one of the two plots. During the construction of the house, the client could continue living in the adjoining house before selling it.

© Filip Dujardin

Program / Site
The programme includes the construction of a small house, for a limited budget in the center of the city of Ghent. The site is a narrow and deep plot, where three floors can be realized.

© Filip Dujardin

Given the limited width of the site, the design was developed within the section. By seeing the house as a sequence of three elements/parts with varying heights, different conditions could be realized. The first two parts consist of three floors which are connected by a central staircase. The stairs serve the different levels that vary in floor height. This creates different perspectives and a continuity of space. A skylight over the entire surface of the stairwell allows natural light to penetrate deep into the house.

© Filip Dujardin

One enters the house trough an area with a low ceiling, that is primarily used as a vestibule/storage between the street and living space. The dining room and kitchen in the second part of the house have a substantial ceiling height, creating a visual relationship with the office space above the entrance hall. This space is a home office inbetween the street and the living space. In the extended area of the dining room and kitchen, is the living room. Using an identical skylight as in the stairwell, natural light extends into the center of the living room.

© Filip Dujardin

The split level staircase serves the bathroom above the office space, and two rooms above the dining area . By extending the height of the second part of the house within the allowed urban reglementations, it was possible to realize a mezzanine in the upper bedroom on the second floor, and thus achieving maximum use of the floor space. During the construction of the house, the client decided to add a garden shed to the program. This became the fourth and final element in the back of the building plot.

first level plan

This terraced house is situated in a conservation area of the city and is served with a number of planning rules to answer to. In consultation with the urban design services, there was opted for a sloped roof parallel to the street. This principle was applied to all four elements of the house.

second level plan

The concept of the succession of the four parts are drawn in the use of materials and detailing. The bare structure is considered as finishing and expresses the concept. The house consists of two longitudinal walls of painted brick.The rooms are divided by transverse walls erected in concrete blocks. There is no distinction between materials for the exterior and interior shell. The exterior facades and interior walls are in the same concrete block, where the same block window principle is also used.

Cite: "House 12k / Dierendonck Blancke Architecten" 22 Mar 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 20 Sep 2014. <>


  1. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    why not, with 75% of the surface area touching neighbor houses who are heating – it’ll be extraordinary cheap!
    seriously, a detached one family housing with 15cm insulation will have approx. the same heatingenergy consumption

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      with the outer walls not being plastered this entire house is one giant air leak,..and its hardly 75%..maybe 30% max.
      And if every neighbor thinks the same way, noone is getting it warm…

  2. Thumb up Thumb down -1

    This bleak architecture fits well with the grey and sad cities in Belgium. I find it very meager…

  3. Thumb up Thumb down -1

    I know it is hard to control and also not the intention to control open blogs, but it saddens me to see too many angry and immature comments on this fantastic website.

    • Thumb up Thumb down +7

      so comments are only mature when they are positive?
      most of these comments are right:this house totally ignores its context. This is a typical “lets do something different so we will stand out” architecture.”"Lets use concrete blocks wich totally don’t fit in the surroundings and will use some fancy concept words to back it up…that will bring us in the magazines,…”

  4. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    @Galois: ?
    Virtually every maconry house is built up out of 2 layers: and outer brick, cavity and inner brick. I don’t understand what you try to say here?
    A concrete block isn’t airtight, so you can put 10 layers of concrete blocks, it wont make your house airtight.
    Also: check the connection between the windows and the walls or the connection between the rooflight and the walls,…
    I dont understand that in these days, with sustainability being a hot topic, architects even dare to built like this…it truly makes me sad.

  5. Thumb up Thumb down -1

    My guess is that, like most cavity wall construction, the air tightness is determined by the materials in the cavity, not the facing martial. As we do not know the material build up it is somewhat foolish to criticise.

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      well, the material in the cavity is insulation (I hope).
      What you are refering to is wind-tightness: to prevent air circulation throughout the insulation because that would destroy the insulating qualities of the material.
      But wind-tightness is something completely different then air-tighntess.
      It IS possible to make an airtight construction in the cavity, but only when when one would render the outisde of the inner bricks with a cement-render. Then you would still have to tape all the window, roof and floor connections, because they would all be leaks.
      That’s why gipsium plaster is used: it’s much easier to create an airtight construction.
      I’m pretty sure the walls here arent rendered with cement, because it would mean you would first have to construct the inner wall, render it, place insulation and then construct the outer wall. This way of contructing an attached house is virtually impossible.
      So you see, the only foolishness here, is the architecture…

      • Thumb up Thumb down +1

        Many thanks for your summary about how you see construction. Unfortunately I must disagree, cement render is not the only means of achieving a air-tight construction and I am not referring to ‘wind-tightness’ – whatever that is. Taking a UK model of cavity construction – the cavity is usually ventilated (the outer skin is acting like a rainscreen) with the airtightness being achieved as part of the cavity construction – either in front or behind the insulation and often the air barrier is integral to the sheet insulation. The frames of openings are then taped or sealed to create a sealed envelope. Of course UK regulations require some form of trickle ventilation – this is usually incorporated in the frame.
        While accepting that a plasterboard or plaster internal finish can improve the airtightness, and as you note it is not included in this project, I would suggest that as we do not know the construction detail it is a little hasty to criticise purely on speculation.

  6. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    That should of course read ‘material’. Apologies. For what it is worth this is not really my cup of tea but felt it was being unfairly treated. I would assume that the cavity is ventilated in some way although this is not clear in the images supplied.

  7. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    I explained wind-tightness in my comment.
    Maybe I wasn’t very clear (English isn’t my native language). To clear things up: google “solitex” and “intello plus”. That will make you see the difference between a windbarrier and an airbarrier. Windtight = ALWAYS outside, airtight = ALWAYS inside.
    Now, about ventilated cavities: they are useless. I presume u use them to “dry” the outer brick wall, but studies proved that a ventilated cavity don’t make them dry out faster. The use of a ventilated cavity is actually a waste of insulation space.
    I don’t understand why you claim that air-tightness can be created by the insulating material. You might create a WINDbarrier if you use oil-derivate foams and you tape of all the joints, but it is impossible to create an air-tight construction this way, because, the barrier is at the outside of your insulating material!!
    PS: a plasterboard isn’t air-tight. Gipsum plaster is, if executed wel.
    I dont need to see the construction details to know this house isn’t air-tight. The pictures tell me it isn’t. Understanding the important difference between a windbarrier (what you are talking about) and an airbarrier (what i am talking about) will make you understand why.

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      I suggest that we leave this dialog where it is as I am not sure it is achieving anything – and I disagree. My point is simple: we do not know the construction detail therefore it is unfair to criticise this building – there are plenty of other ways!

      • Thumb up Thumb down +2

        I agree, it’s unfair to debate with someone who doesn’t seem to knowe what the other one is talking about…

  8. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Hey guys, why dont try to check the house face to face and critic, Its seems Tom Peeters lives in that same house to know everything about it :P

      • Thumb up Thumb down -2

        a plaster finish wont insulate the building any better.The heat depends on how much insulation goes into the cavity. why would you cover up such great fair face block work.The project fits neatly in with context.Im sure Tom doesn’t like this project, because the client never spent a fortune on fancy cladding or wallpaper

  9. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I never said a plaster finish would provide aditional insulation, I said it is necessary to have an airtight building.
    Please, try to understand the differance in both,…If you think insulation is the only factor when it comes to heating a building then for the love of God I hope you are not an architect!

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