Text description provided by the architects. Renovation of a forge to single family home with guest room, studio and gardens. On a unique location in the city of Ghent a single-family is realized within the walls of an old industrial building. The old brick forge and carpentry became the scene for the house as scaled room. Some shed roofs are retained, others are removed. Similarly, pieces of the concrete flooring are retained or removed. The house, a wood and steel framing with rational structure and readable use of material, cuts the plot in half. The result is a south facing, bar shaped volume which absorbs the confrontation between two complementary outdoor spaces: the walled garden and the workshop. If one goes through the gate, one enters a first room, a workshop space covered with the original shed roof.
This open space is both a park and play area for the residents and a workplace. In that room three containers are strategically set up. Out of economic necessity, these compact prefabricated steel structures are used as storage and entry perpendicular to the house, and as ‘Bed&Breakfast’, stacked above the entrance porch. This ‘B&B’ is created by two containers internally linked to become a very vertical residence. At the same time they are used to stabilize the fragile old and by heritage intitutions protected front facade. The second outdoor space is formed by an enclosed rear garden, bounded by a space under a maintained shed roof. This space looks back at the house. The feeling, of the room as a shed without a roof, is made permanent at any point of the plot.
The house is conceived as a transparent filter between the front and rear space. We inverse the classic principle: the opaque parts, in the otherwise glass front and back, are the opening parts. On summer days, when the walls are open, there is no visual separation between the more covered space to the street and the garden at the rear. Here the concept of front and rear becomes very ambiguous. A door opens very dramatically and changes the spatial constellation. On the south side the house gets translucent green plastic canopies to offer shade to the southern sun. On the first floor, these grills become a footbridge that gives the sleeping areas a relationship with the enclosed garden. The construction of the house remains visible, slender white columns bear the open wooden scheduling. The cladding consists of untreated shingles. If they are wet, they become dark and get a varied and almost velvety appearance.
The ground floor is characterized by the materialization of some specific and unique fixed furniture: - The kitchen, made of green plywood, brass and green concrete - The fireplace, a central and naked space separating element - The entrance container, finished with polish pine plywood - The stairs, at the same time the library, made of dark-stained oak veneer plywood and black HPL. A sustainable project is realized by the conscious choice for a compact air-conditioned volume, well-insulated walls, triple glazing, balance ventilation and louvers on the south side to counteract extreme solar heating.