Thwart

Renovation of an inventoried historic laborer house in which compact living, spaciousness and the organic find each other in transverse structures with various interpretations.

Duffel, 2018-..., private client



They were all built at once, the workers' houses, all identical with their brick rolling layers, the hatches and in the middle of the mansard roof: the dormer. The corners of the building block are somewhat different and bigger. Meanwhile, the historic image has already been muddled by nonchalant renovations. Once thought out together, the houses are now going to lead their own lives. The street scene, however, is an inventoried city view. The renovation is limited to one of the houses. In the past it was also a butcher's shop, by the way. We try to do better than the neighbors.

The cottage has a fairly intact outer shell. Little has been lost; even when a new extension was built against the rear of the historic volume, the back door and the rear window were retained, in the interior. We were lucky, even the single sheet glass with the rod slats was saved. The situation is more patchy within the shell. On the ground floor mainly two high doors are still preserved. On the first floor, the small floor plan is further divided by various walls, doors and a steep staircase. There are more obstacles here than benefits. The client wants an organic life in the house with a certain spaciousness that compensates for compact living.

The house gets a limited volume increase on the ground floor at the back. The architecture is midway between a free plan and room architecture. The longitudinal shared walls are what they are, so nuanced boundaries are made in a transverse direction, both vertically and horizontally. Wood between stones. The boundaries show themselves as ordered framework that give all kinds of building elements a composition and meaning: external windows, cabinets, door frames, stairs, tubes. Some of these building elements are new, others are old. The old ones were given a manipulation to supplement their historical story with a new logic. So they have a lot to tell. The frameworks organizes the house. It is not entirely clear whether it is actually architecture or furniture. You can peek through. There is light passing through from all kinds of sides. Orange at this hour. It is not clear whether it comes from the west sun or from the fire pit on the terrace.

Partners
Stabimi (structure)

historic photo  

view interior  

view interior  

axonometry frameworks  

axonometry frameworks