Facade Focus: Brick
Yves Borghs and Katleen van Ammel wanted their new house to offer maximum privacy but also maximum light. The solution proposed by Tom Verschueren, of Mechelen, Belgium-based DMVA Architects, was to create a closed street-side facade with an open backside facing the garden, totally glazed from the ground up to the saddleback roof. On the street side, the only true opening is the door; the seven tall, slim windows are screened by what Verschueren calls “knitted” bricks. “In this part of Belgium, 90 percent of the houses are built with brick,” says Verschueren. “It’s a classic material that we tried to use in House BVA in a totally different way.”
For the street side, brown bricks were selected to match the roof tiles, presenting a monochrome look relieved only by the red door frame. Because of the couple’s low budget, the interior is plain and unadorned, with concrete floors and white walls, but a bright red glass hallway linking the street to the garden adds a warm, dramatic touch.
“The garden is big and the family puts their bikes there, so they needed an access corridor,” explains Verschueren. “Building a wall seemed a pity. Red glass is a wall that’s not a wall, and it also adds atmosphere.”