Belgian practice dmvA Architects realised this extension of an existing row house in Mechelen, Belgium. In responding to the light problem on the groundfloor, they created the concept of a central void with glass floors so light could enter the house. Photographs by Frederik Vercruysse
Central void – glass floors
“Following a new addition of the family, the owners decided to rebuild their house. The existing house was extended according to building regulations, 17 m groundfloor, 13 m first floor and 9 m saddle-roof.
Responding to the light problem on the groundfloor, a central void was created, cutting three floors, so light could enter the house via the huge dormer window. In order not to lose space, the void was filled in with glass floors. This light-shaft organises and connects all different living-functions.”
Open house – own space – “The concept of the central void with glass floors also bears an educational aspect. By means of the glass floors, a spatial transparency is created through which all spaces are connected. Children are brought up with the emphasis on ‘living together’, one of the main principals in education. At the same time everyone has the disposal of his own space.”
Street – garden, closed- open, dark- light, strict –sculptural – “The façade on street side is in every inch the opposite of the back façade. The design of the front is the result of the search for sunscreen, privacy, closeness, urbanism. Characteristic to the front façade is not only verticalism, but also the contemporary translation of roller-blinds, so often used in the past.
The back façade, on the contrary, is open, clear, white with large windows. The design-language applied gives this façade a sculptural character.”
Text by dmvA Architecten
Photographs by Frederik Vercruysse