A project to convert a farm (consisting of a farm house, 2 large barns and 3 small outbuildings) into a house, for a family with two children, was developed respecting the tradition of Flemish rural architecture with a very contemporary approach to the plan. A plan that hardly suggested the classic farmhouse with irregularly overhanging gable roof, classic roof tiles and “kalei” brick (brick plastered with a thick clay finish) façades.
The 2 large barns, to be refurbished in the future, are positioned parallel around a court. Flanked by several outbuildings, the newly renovated farm house encloses of the third side of the court.
The gently sloping, wide and rough landscape with a windmill on the horizon, requires a very sheltered but open contemporary approach: strong base volumes in “kalei” brick support the large gable roof and define the living spaces on the ground floor of the house.
The contemporary living spaces in between the volumes, are only separated from the outside by large windows framing vistas of the landscape or the southern court. The brick volumes evoke a feeling of rural raum plan architecture because of their massive character, yet create direct open relationships between the spaces and accentuate beautiful sightlines through wide openings between the volumes.
The materials and details are recovered from the old tradition: wooden flooring and furniture with wide oak planks, aged bluestone in different formats, classical pivot hinges and door handles, exposed light bulbs, “kalei” brick on the outside which continue inside and even to internal ceilings. These materials create a rough atmosphere however the tactility of the materials and through careful detailing they form a conformable house, trying to encapsulate the essence of rural living, sheltered by a large red tiled roof. Ox blood red doors accentuate the main entrance and respect the color that has been painted on ports and shutters of old barns for centuries.