House C-DF is a minimal home located in Ghent, Belgium, designed by GRAUX & BAEYENS. The renovation of this classical home on an enclosed plot on the Visserij in Ghent brought once again a logical flow indoors, provided a better connection with the outdoor space and – despite major technical challenges – integrated the bicycle workshop that the client wanted so badly. While the main residence required few modifications, tabula rasa was created with the old extension of the house. Rather than keep this extension narrow and deep as it originally was, it was decided to have it fanned out over the full width of the outdoor space. The light that enters in front of it attracts like a magnet and indicates the walking lines in the house with a fascinating cinematographic effect. As a result, this intervention also immediately improved the enfilade between the front, intermediate and back chambers. As one approaches the rear of the house, one also gains a view of the beautiful facade that demarcates the rear of the plot and has been completely restored. It provides extra homogeneity and massiveness.
For the architects it was important to nicely connect the main house and the extension. For example, by returning a few wood accents on the outside, a subtle point of contact between the two constructions was created.
The extension is a steel prefab construction that determined the architecture and finish of the extension based on the structural finishing principle. For example, the steel fins were deliberately not concealed, but subtly painted in white and milled, creating a poetic play of light in the extension. The fins also determine the rhythm of the cabinets that came between them, which, thanks to a subtle interruption, accentuate the depth of the house. To make the whole thing more tactile, oak and terrazzo were used in the kitchen in addition to steel. The latter material was also extended to the terrace to increase the connection with the outdoor space. Together with the high sliding windows, this creates an open loggia feeling in the extension.
On top of the steel construction of the extension is a completely new bathroom with an atypical design: terrazzo extends from the floor to the walls and the bathroom furniture and a large window ensures that the residents shower with a view of Ghent. By turning the room into a living space rather than a typical bathroom, the bathroom door is usually left open. In this way, the logical flow between the rooms is confirmed and the staircase is generously provided with daylight. In the upstairs bedroom, the window is at chest height. From there it continues up to the dormer window, where there is a multipurpose room and a completely kids-proof bathroom. The high window offers a beautiful view of historic Ghent but remains surprisingly human-sized thanks to the playful layout.
Photography by Jeroen Verrecht
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