The firm was approached for an extension to an existing house but, instead of adding a new volume in the large garden, they proposed the creation of underground spaces. Originally, the entrance stood a storey higher than the street level. A large space was created in the former basement by excavating the back garden. This made it possible to create an environment demarcated by regular, rhythmic concrete columns that provide structure to both the interior and the new street-side façade. Comprising an entrance hall, garage, study, living and dining room, kitchen and two patios, the ‘new’ house provides the open spaces that the old one lacked. The column structure is like a skeleton, the finishing materials of which have been ascribed to different functions: a terrazzo floor in the spacious entrance hall, a leather floor in the study, another in cross-sawn timber in the living and dining rooms. The choices seem opulent yet honest: the leather will age, the terrazzo has imperfect corners and the cross-sawn wood is the antithesis of a glossy, polished parquet floor. Doors, shelves, cupboards, storage spaces and a small office are all treated as infill and materially distinguished from the concrete cage. In the renovated ‘old’ house, the obsession with detail continues: built-in cupboards feature in all bedrooms, bathrooms are equipped with simple but flawlessly applied tiles and customized taps, doors are finished with folded brass handles, tiny circular skylights allow light into the stairwell, to cite just a few examples.
Author: Asli çiçek. This text has been published in the Architecture Review Flanders N°11. Embedded Architecture.