Our friends from PIQUE llc shared with us this house located outside the small village of Mormont in the Ardennes Forest of Belgium. Designed for a young family of four, the home will start as a summer house and expand into the sunlit basement to ultimately function as a permanent residence.
As the husband works internationally, the closely knit family’s schedule has a 19-hour-a-day operating time stretching from breakfast at 7am to the end of the North American work day at 2am. This family wanted a house that would participate in the rituals of their day and amplify key family events.
Because the gently sloped site is mostly surrounded by dense foliage, all of the momentum of the house is directed toward the sky. Five light wells have been designated to five specific experiences that compliment five different events in the family’s schedule. In some cases the wells frame views and shadows, and in some cases the wells funnel light. The architecture is an active participant in the place. It acts as an agent, accentuating special moments that already exist in the place and partnering them with significant events of the family’s daily ritual.
A modest 130 square meters in its ‘vacation home’ configuration, the house floor plan and structure is kept extremely simple and utilizes local standard building techniques so that a significant portion of the modest budget can go into the experiential roof wells which are made of pre-fabricated Structural Insulated Panel assemblies craned into place.