A Fantastic Renovation in Belgium Rescues a Bauhaus-Inspired Home
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.
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.
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.
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.