House B on a lush green site abutting a lake in the middle of an old allotment is designed for a family of 5 and is located in a town centre in the suburbs of Antwerp.
The picturesque setting and focus on daylight and views inspired the simple yet sophisticated approach to this villa.
What sets this project apart is its austere and refined approach to design sensibilities while maintaining absolute precedence to functionality and resilience.
The house is designed to blend into its surrounding natural landscape. The meandering plan allows daylight to penetrate during all seasons and at any time of the day while achieving unobstructed views of the garden.
The ground floor consists of three main zones. A living area with an open kitchen, a wellness zone with swimming pool and sauna, and a resting wing with bedrooms and music room offering panoramic view over the water. On the first floor of the latter is the master suite with views of the tree crowns and a library overlooking the pond through the double height music room.
These zones are physically and visually connected with glazed passages along four closed blocks covered with dark larch veneer. The boxes form the supporting structure for the roof that covers the open floorplan and include more separable functions like the entrances, vertical circulation, pantry, storages and bedrooms.
Technical spaces and car parks are located underground and are accessible through a ramp that disappears into a pond.
The sloped roofs of ‘house B’ not only soften the appearance but - supported by trusses - also allow for the large column free cut-outs in the natural stone envelope. These openings are finished with minimal aluminium joinery.
Natural stone as an envelope was chosen for its appealing aging process and particularly Musschelkalk as the stone, with its texture, cavities and subtle grey and brown tones adapts to the light and the changing vegetation throughout the day and different seasons.
To underline the monolithic character of the house, the roof - the fifth facade - is also clad with Musschelkalk stone slabs. The polished panels in three different sizes are arranged in a directionless Roman pattern so that the roof surfaces and facades merge with one another. And rough blocks for stepping stones and terraces physically connect the house to the floor, so it becomes like a stone in the forest.
The refined detailing of the house results from the studio’s mission to find elegant yet sound technical and energy efficient solutions thereby enhancing the austerity of its designs and ensuring that the energy invested in the materials and building process can last for generations to come.