This house is located in an allotment that dates from 1953, in the south end of Brussels (Uccle).
The pre-existing construction, built in that time, occupies the top of the lot, located on a slope and in alignment with the neighbouring houses. It is stuck to the property on the west side. The construction is not remarkable from the technical point of view, nor has it any particular personality.
Nevertheless, we choose to preserve certain structures of the ground floor, the cellars and the garages situated under the slope. The idea is to mask the old building and to rediscover it passed the threshold.
The project consists in the first place in moving the centre of gravity of the new entity towards the centre of the lot. From there on a useful volume of space is opened on the west side.
The first sketches show a surrounding volumetry in the shape of a cylinder. This shape clears the environment (absence of physical limits of the shape, exclusion of the neighbourhood, ). On the other hand, the design of the plan features a structured volume on the basis of cross views in one axis and sequential views in the other. What comes to mind then are Aldo Van Eycks pavilion in Sonsbeek and certain representations of Mondriaans "Framing of the Infinite".
Little by little, an accidental shape, not foreseen in the programme, emerges when we apply a series of cuts to the volume. These successive operations lead to an irregular pentagon that we then try to control in order to get back to the values of the construction. This shape, tested in the field, drives us to conceive a unique matter, sliced and used for the entire volume (walls and roofing). As of this moment we have started a thorough research on the basis of aluminium, taking into consideration different manufacturers and constructors.
We are fascinated by the photographic work of Joseph Sudek, and particularly by his series "Window of my Workshop", which he started in 1940. The basic energy of the series comes from his detention in Prague during the Anschluss, where his viewpoint changed radically. We begin the tests to modify the perception of the exterior through the "windows" by interposing a thin, perforated aluminium panel. The notions of intimacy contained within the heart of the project gradually find a poetic transposition, the status of the habitat in the environment creating a point of balance with regard to our criteria. The work is carried out by a team of craftsmen related to the workshop and in close consultation with them. The result is a house, built following the methodology of the sensitive.