Located at a typical suburban road in Flanders, where only a few of the former country road surrounded by meadows and farmlands are remaining, there is still a remnant in the row of suburban houses.
An ensemble of a rowhouse, barn and garage, in a somewhat deplorable condition, were in need of renovation to accommodate a residence with practice space. The three existing buildings, which previously stood next to each other in a disordered configuration, are combined into one single entity. The character of the ensemble is primarily defined by one material and connects the 3 buildings. The facades, exterior walls, window sills and ceiling are all constructed with a brownish red brick and were reinforced where possible.
We made every effort to preserve the character and fragmentation of the ensemble. For this reason, we opted to insulate the walls from the inside. In this way, the facade still shows all the signs of time with the addition of some new window openings. The new openings in the façade are here and there oversized compared to the existing openings so that just from the inside the old brick facades can be seen as a kind of relic. From the outside, the wooden block frames at the level of the former stable are therefore not visible. In contrast, the existing windows of the old house are classically placed to subtly maintain the distinction between the old house and the adjoining stable.
Wherever possible, an attempt was made to preserve the "found" elements. The old roof framework was restored by retaining old massive round beams and planking in oak, preserving the distinctiveness of the barn. The existing concrete staircase, which runs partially through the masonry vaulting, is preserved and clearly highlighted. By removing all interior walls and leaving only the exterior structure, everything is brought together into 1 open plan.
The former house became a medical practice with bedrooms upstairs, the former barn became a living space. The entrance of the former house is preserved and accentuated by a red tinted cement tile. The ground floor plan was completely opened up and organized around two triangular volumes clad in birch plywood. Which are positioned, as it were, as separate pieces of furniture in the open plan. This gives living space and kitchen a clear demarcation without a hard boundary between the two.
On level +1, under the roof of the former barn attic, two children's bedrooms are positioned like tents, so that the resulting open spaces between the two boxes form a play and study island for the children. The closed boxes can also be opened towards the in-between spaces, enhancing the relationship between them.
Here we actually opted for a reverse movement compared to the ground floor. The utilitarian spaces are placed in volumes, making the open space the interstitial space. In contrast to the ground floor, the sleeping quarters are strongly defined. A high open void connects the 2 levels. The garage is kept in its existing condition and used as a studio space for restoration of vintage cars.