Pluim is a minimal home located in Gent, Belgium, designed by Delmulle Delmulle. The building project was situated next to a residence created by architect Marie-José Van Hee. Vermeer’s “Het Straatje,” a painting, served as Van Hee’s inspiration. The house was designed with the same primary principle as Van Hee: strictly responding to the preconditions of the environment and maintaining and bolstering the already-existing dialogue: an answer to her answer. The low facade, which is framed by a lush oasis, separates it from the homes across the street and allows light to shine onto the street. The floors were removed from the street scene and respectfully abut the adjacent house’s detached facade. A subtle balance between integration and differentiation has been achieved by using the common walls to border different courtyards and cornices. Two understated, connected facades that share the same height, openness, and size but have different personalities and zeitgeists.

The project was mostly blocked during construction up to a height of four meters, resembling a pedestal. This includes a home office with a view of the front and back courtyard gardens as well as a wheelchair accessible hospital room with bathroom. A beautiful and translucent wooden volume rests above the pedestal. For solitude and intimacy, the first floor’s bedroom and bathroom are sunken into the pedestal to parapet height. The open living area with a roomy view of the Ghent skyline is located at the very top. More panoramic views are found higher up in the house. A contrast living experience of peace and greenery in the middle of the city is provided by extensive planting in the courtyards and on the green roofs, which creates shade and privacy.

Photography by Johnny Umans