Mr and Mrs Van Mechelen built their first house 15 years ago in a cubic modern style. Although they, together with their two kids, have been living happily in this house, they decided 5 years ago to build for a second time in their life. Because of its location along a busy road with a lot of traffic, they started dreaming of living in a quiet environment.
After they found a marvellous building plot in the woods next to the ‘Nete-valley’, dmvA was in charge of designing a new family house. The principal wanted an open and spatial house, a home where he could relax after a busy working day in a cosy atmosphere, with lots of daylight and privacy. So, let’s say, the classical keywords in modern architecture.
dmvA started designing by analysing the building plot. The most characteristic features of the plot were the bad orientation (the street was south orientated), the dyke along the Goorbos-river on the building plot and town-planning regulations of building with a sloping roof, typical for the countryside in Flanders.
So dmvA’s issue was clear: how to design a family house in a wonderful environment of woods, along a dyke of the Goorbos-river, on a badly orientated site, with maximum respect for nature, in a rural shaped form?
Living upstairs under a warped hip roof
dmvA started designing by reshaping a archetype form with a hip roof, the basic form based on the town-planning regulations. Extremely profound form-studies led to an amorphous form with a warped hip roof, with different angles of inclination, rising out above the dyke. By cutting out a part of the roof the house gets its sculptural form.
Because of reasons of privacy and the south orientation of the street, dmvA proposed living on the upper floors, under the hip roof, the symbol of shelter. The entrance, a private office, the garage, sleeping rooms and bathrooms are situated on the ground floor. A monumental white straight staircase leads to the spatial light living room with open kitchen, organised around a white volume with storage room. Marvellous window views on the green neighbourhood characterise the loft-like living room. A spiral staircase leads to the second floor, a multi-purpose room adjacent to the extraordinary intimate roof top terrace, a zen-like outer space.
The use of white lacquered zinc for both roof and walls reinforce the house as an icon in nature.
Principal: Mr. and mrs. Van Mechelen – Van Keilegom
Team: David Driesen, Tom Verschueren, Valerie Lonnoy, Katrien Geerinckx
Location: Sint Katelijne Waver, Belgium
General contractor: HBK Construct / KA Construct / Zinc Bert Meeuws
Structural engineer: ASB, Wortel, Belgium
Built area: 506 m2
Photos: Frederik Vercruysse