A Fantastic Renovation in Belgium Rescues a Bauhaus-Inspired Home

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By Anna Jones
Designed in 1969 with the Bauhaus movement as inspiration, the Zoersel House was a prototype meant to be duplicated across the surrounding residential landscape.

Resembling the infamous Villa Savoye through its formal articulation, central core, and industrial materials, the residence is formed by a steel skeleton in a perfect grid of nine squares, two stories tall. 

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The original plan arranged domestic functions in the nine squares of the upper floor in addition to two squares on the ground floor, which held an entrance hall and staircase.  The remaining space formed an open carport.  Through time, the original prototype was modified to accommodate the growing needs of its users, and to combat technical problems.  Unfortunately, the intention of reproduction on a large scale did not occur.  The steel house stands on its own in a field of fabricated farmhouse style abodes. 

A Fantastic Renovation in Belgium Rescues a Bauhaus-Inspired Home - Photo 2 of 11 - A modern work space now fills the originally vacant space on the ground level. 

A modern work space now fills the originally vacant space on the ground level. 

In 2005, interior architect Arjaan De Feyter and his wife purchased the home, which was in total array and near demolition.  Initial steps focused on the restoration of the corroded steel skeleton.  Once restored, the aluminum sandwich panels and original wooden windows, now double glazed for increased thermal performance, were inserted back into the steel frame.  The original plan of the upper floor was retained, locating the couple's habitable space in the upper nine squares. On the ground floor, a work space was created by a quiet extension composed of large glass walls with minute profiles. 

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Much attention and detail was focused on designing better joinery to prevent the cold bridges characteristic of exposed steel skeletons. An ingenious solution of quick-drying, two-component resin was sprayed onto all beams and pillars in contact with the outside air, so there's no risk of condensation or moisture. 

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Every detail and interior component was carefully detailed and curated by Arjaan.  Interior spaces display the steel skeleton, wrapped in a layer of polymer, then encased in painted MDF.  Thoughtful attention to detail and careful consideration in renovation and new conceptualization allow the beauty of the original prototype to remain, while providing contemporary domestic comfort for the designer and his family. 

A Fantastic Renovation in Belgium Rescues a Bauhaus-Inspired Home - Photo 7 of 11 - Bog oak wood cabinets fill the kitchen space.  

Bog oak wood cabinets fill the kitchen space.  

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A Fantastic Renovation in Belgium Rescues a Bauhaus-Inspired Home - Photo 9 of 11 - Artwork by Jean-Pierre Murray accents the dining space furnished with Alfred Hendrickx table and chairs. 

Artwork by Jean-Pierre Murray accents the dining space furnished with Alfred Hendrickx table and chairs. 

A Fantastic Renovation in Belgium Rescues a Bauhaus-Inspired Home - Photo 10 of 11 - Chairs by Willy Guhl, a cabinet by Pieter De Bruyne, and artwork by Xavier Visa decorate a sitting area on the upper floor, flanking the steel staircase.

Chairs by Willy Guhl, a cabinet by Pieter De Bruyne, and artwork by Xavier Visa decorate a sitting area on the upper floor, flanking the steel staircase.

A Fantastic Renovation in Belgium Rescues a Bauhaus-Inspired Home - Photo 11 of 11 - The living space is anchored by a marble coffee table created by Poul Kjaerholm and a wooden cabinet by Pieter De Bruyne.

The living space is anchored by a marble coffee table created by Poul Kjaerholm and a wooden cabinet by Pieter De Bruyne.

Project Credits:

-Architect of Record: Arjaan De Feyter Interior Architects

-Interior Design: Arjaan De Feyter Interior Architects

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