Brick in its purest form.
Consideration of the highly residential character of the neighborhood and beautiful protected trees on the site were key influences to how the client’s brief was met. The architectural concept was developed around these parameters with traditional modernist references found in Mies Van Der Rohe’s Krefeld Villa’s or the brick residences of local Antwerpen architect Nachman Kaplansky.
The use of materials – red brick, dark-grey window frames, large glass surfaces, and recessed eaves – makes reference to the cottage-villa typology, however, the consistent and rigorous application of these materials produces a new entity and atmosphere within the neighborhood. A timeless design that, because of its subdued manner, opposes the neo-kitsch villas to be found nearby.
The concept for the house is driven by the format of the brick and its application across several stacked and offset geometries that aim to draw the garden into the interior, give the project a sculptural quality. The brick volumes define the functional requirements of the house and create a direct relationship to the garden and the open, or closed, character of the individual spaces.
A garden house in the middle of a field.
The position of the trees on the southwest side of the property informed the siting of the main volume – a central placement that referenced the previous dwelling and the open and interconnected lifestyle of the client and their desire for a spacious open living area with a direct connection to the surrounding greenery.
Key siting influences:
- The building envelope sits within the construction lines of the left and right neighbor
- The shortest possible distance from the protected tress in order to maintain a direct relationship
- Southwest-facing front garden, north-facing rear garden
- Placed back as far as possible to retain a large open space surrounding the central swimming pond flanked by a low brick volume.
The detail of the interior is in keeping with the architectural concept. The brick finish extends inside and is complemented by Afrormosia and white-painted walls with black detailing. A counter of Afrormosia and terrazzo forms the heart of the kitchen and a large blackened-steel fireplace stands as a strong cubic volume in the central living space while custom-made black Oak tables give a rich contrast within the space. Concrete and terrazzo have been used for bathroom finishes and workspaces. The concrete floors extend beyond glazing lines and exterior brick geometries and integrate fully into the surrounding landscape designed by Wirtz International Landscape Architects.
Although these loose internal volumes can be closed down, they still remain consistent within the permanent form of the architecture and, due to its informal and sculptural character, the project remains consistent overall.
Koen Van Damme