House DJ

  • Graux & Bayens Architects
  • Gris de Brindisi
  • Sandblasted concrete
  • Peterson Kolumba brick 
On paper this was a dream project for Graux & Baeyens Architects: a single-family home on an idyllic plot of land on the bank of the river Lys. However, the terrain’s orientation and small size made it impossible to draw a simple beam in the direction of the river. The Ghent Architects took on the challenge, eventually conceiving the house as a fractured beam. In other words, a crooked concatenation of three cubes.

The constructor wanted a house without angled lines, and that is what the architects gave him: the wedges between the blocks form the circulation between the straight living modules. You also get this clear feeling that you are moving between the three wings because of the Peterson stone, which not only covers the outside walls of the building but is also used throughout the interior. This allows you to also ‘read’ the building’s architectural makeup when you’re in the living spaces.

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The amazing thing is: every ‘block’ provides an optimal view and light conditions. And yet the way you experience space – the ‘feel of the place’ the architects call it – is different in each volume. Each has its own particular way of interacting with the environment. Sometimes it’s the bank of the Lys, sometimes a sheltered patio garden, sometimes another room. This relation between inside and outside is quite surprising, more so for a monochromatic building whose façade looks like a contemporary castle. Only the entrance, recessed deep into the massive monolith, invites the visitor inside. The entrance wedge and patio provide you with a glimpse of the Lys landscape, which gradually reveals itself as you enter the house. Remarkably, the three blocks do not touch each other, not quite: there is a space of five centimeters between any two of them. The minimal cuts function as lighting spots for the interior, which has been kept deliberately sober. The conversation pit, office, and kitchen, furnished in Gris de Brindisi marble and oak, all bathe in a range of warm greys and browns. Materiality at the service of the form-based concept, which bears the unmistakable Graux & Baeyens mark.

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