The assignment involved replacing an series of two workers houses placed in a central yet secluded area of Leuven with one contemporary single family residence. The client's requirements included, amongst others, accommodating a fully functional, high-end music and recording studio, a high degree of privacy as well as bright open spaces. In order to achieve this in a relatively densely built, yet small-grained urban tissue the decision was made to turn the ground floor completely towards the inside, while the upper floor would relate to the typology of the workers housing in scale and proportion.
The plot is circumscribed on the ground floor by a massive U-shaped concrete wall, enclosing the living room, kitchen area and a hortus conclusus through which one enters from the street. Interior and exterior are blended almost seamlessly into one open space, while the massive thickness of the wall (100 cm) incorporates all necessary technical provisions of the house: the entrance, the vertical circulation and the sanitary and kitchen utilities.
Two wooden volumes (one with a pitched roof and one with a flat roof) are balanced on top of this solid plinth, in harmony with the geometry and scale of the surrounding context. They accommodate the bedrooms, dressing room, bathroom and an office/guest room. A terrace on top of the flat roof is accessed via a spiral staircase between the two volumes. The two wooden volumes each receive a particular treatment of the facade. The pitched volume features horizontal, black planking, while the flat-topped volume is clad in recuperated wooden planking previously used in the production of bricks.
The basement houses the technical areas, music and recording studio, which required special acoustical treatment and was placed in the basement for isolation purposes.
The garden or the hortus conclusus is designed in collaboration with Studio Basta.