The spatial and design concept of this house, built in the green surroundings of Belgian city of Sint-Martens-Latem, was strongly influenced by the particularities of the site, the functional program, and the local urban regulations. The terrain was a combination of two lots with defined building areas. Set in a low density urban settlement of villas, the terrain has a very strong natural character, surrounded by dense gardens, forest, and narrow streets sided by old and beautiful Ash, Oak, and Maple trees. The terrain is protected by a curtain of high trees in its north-eastern sides and by dense green hedges at the south-west, creating a strong sense of protection and natural enclosure.
The main volume is located at the corner of the terrain, opening up the internal spaces to the southern light and views and, at the same time, protecting the private garden from the adjacent streets and pedestrians. The architectural expression is defined by long brick walls and stacked volumes, following the main two borders of the lot, emphasizing the sense of protection and embracing the landscape, making it part of the architectural concept. This long walls, materialized by a long, elegant and narrow grey brickwork, accentuate the relation of the house with the garden, defining the outdoor spaces and garden areas as if they were the physical extension of the internal spaces. The scale and span of this elements in the terrain outline the idea that the main living area and the garden create an extended livable space, where architecture and landscape blend together.
The main entrance is located at the terrain's north-eastern corner, where a patio garden leads to the main entrance under the cantilevered first floor volume. Internally, at both levels, the house is organized in two main directions. In the ground floor, public areas flow around the main hall, with a double height volume and a glazed roof, creating the sense of one continuous and dynamic space with multiple points of view towards the garden. The main living zones have a strong relationship with the outside through wide glass surfaces and sliding windows. The living room, relatively sunken in the general floor level, offers a singular perspective of the natural and built landscape, with the garden, swimming pool, and covered outdoor terrace as a background. Above, in a more private atmosphere, the residence continues the close dialogue with the outside panoramas through large openings that flood the main circulation areas and the private rooms with southern light.
The dialogue between masses and void defines the main character and atmosphere of the project, not only in plan but also in the façade and three-dimensional composition. The extended and textured brick volumes are interchanged with large openings according to the different internal spaces performing a balanced arrangement of architectural elements. In the interior, the presence of the soft grayish brick texture accentuates the pureness and sobriety of the spaces. The interior design is directly related with the architectural expression of the house not only by the composition of the spaces around masses, voids, and long walls but also through a fine selection natural materials. The floor, executed in wide planks of solid Pine define a soft atmosphere in combination with minimal glass panels, white lacquered doors, and counter tops in grey Quartzite stone. The result is a very tactile and architectural experience that accentuates the contemporary soul of the house.
Petersen Denmark, June 2014
Detail in Contemporary Residential Architecture 2, April 2015
Koen Van Damme