Lead ArchitectsBart Cobbaert, Delphine Deceuninck
Text description provided by the architects. Initially, the clients Ken & Wendy didn’t have any plans to build a new house. But when Wendy and her brother each inherited a construction site, Wendy and her husband changed their minds. Both working, Wendy and Ken wished to come home to an open and spacious architecture, filled with loads of natural daylight where human interactions are set central.
The living functions are organized on the first two floors: the kitchen and the dining room on the ground floor, the living room and study on the second floor. A large void connects these functions. A spanned mesh - generally used as fall protection in the construction industry - gives an additional function to this void. It’s a great place to read a book, hang out or play. The kids just love it!
An old picture of African fishermen received a very suiting place above this meshed void. The same mesh is also used along the staircase as the parapet. The use of mesh helps in creating a spacious and light entity through all living functions.
The open-plan concept enables future changes in the internal organization. The storeroom, stairs, and bathroom are designed as compact as possible, resulting in a wider and more spacious living area. Positioned as such, the full width and depth of the house can be experienced on both floors. It became clear that the brother of Wendy, wouldn’t immediately build on the adjacent plot. This had both advantages and disadvantages.
In this case, the partition wall of this passive house would be exposed to the weather for years. As a result, this wall had to be insulated considerably and covered with façade cladding. The otherwise provisional façade next to the adjacent plot is now considered and conceived as a full-fledged façade finished the same way as the front- and back façade and thus making the house a monolith opposed to a row-house. In order to give the house a warm touch and playful nature, the passive window jambs are finished in wood.
The architect hopes for a second life for the slates once the brother starts constructing his own house on the adjacent lot. Awaiting this construction, the parcel is used as an extra play-garden for the children. The left-overs of the excavated soil is used to create playful slopes and hills in the garden.
The front façade got some multipurpose fencing. It functions as a separation from the public area and doubles as a parapet for the balcony on the second floor. Behind this well thought fencing lies a bike shed as well as the main access to the front door. From the front door an overview on the ground floor, reaching till the backyard, is made possible.
Inside the house, the interior is characterized by a variety of rough and warm materials. The structure is pretty straightforward: visible concrete slabs span from wall to wall and a timber frame structure is wrapped around it as an insulating skin. The interior finishing of this timber structure is made in affordable plywood and doesn’t need expensive and time-consuming paint jobs. The result is an interesting mix of “standard”, “built-in” and “vintage” furniture.