Architecture & Interior design: GRAUX & BAEYENS architects
Photography: Luc Roymans
Name: House G-S
Location: Gent, BELGIUM
Design year: 2008
Square meters: 154m² + 25m² basement
Description from architect firm GRAUX & BAEYENS architects:
House G-S in Ghent, Belgium
This 19th century corner house is located at the Muide waterfront area with a unique view on the old city harbor docks of Ghent, Belgium.
This unique location in the city center formed the corner stone of the project. By creating open spaces with strategically located cutouts this 19th century house captures more than a glimpse of the environment.
The project started by stripping the dilapidated house of all excess.
The essence was conserved by means of the façade, the stairwell and the roof truss, each of them serving as a rough coat to envelop the new spaces.
The rooms and living spaces are conceived as a stack of volumes, a white sculpture inserted in the existing casing.
Several strategically located cutouts offer a variety of well-defined views.
Each cutout frames a different layer of the environment/location, giving the opportunity to focus on possibly interesting facts and details that are scattered around the site. And perhaps these vistas give the eyes a place to rest. Each level has one main cutout that is reinforced by the internal space qualities. For example the triangular shape entrance is opening towards the small alley creating a view on a fragment of the city. By focusing on what at first sight seems like a meaningless piece of garden the mind is given the opportunity the look for patterns, details, materials and anomalies. On the first floor (livingroom) the proportions of the space feels wide(5.5m) and low (2.8m).
This extruded cutout in the front façade appeals to the visitors to step into the window to get a view on the waterfront. For the second floor the space is more introverted. The height of the pitched roof and old wooden truss gives this room a vertical feeling while the old façade is blocking parts of the views on the water. Because the vistas are low, the inhabitants get a view on the surface of the water and the parked boats. Once you get on the terrace you’ll get a panoramic view of the aria. Revealing everything at once.
Inside the house this approach brings contrast to each level. Interplaying the original and new elements enhances each material. Contrast is enhanced by the colours and textures of the selected material. White polyurethane next to old bricks, plaster next to sanded wooden stairs…
Each material influences the other.
The living functions are inverted with respect to a conventional terraced house. This means that the bedrooms are located on the ground floor, the lounge can be found on the first floor and the kitchen, dining room occupy the top floor with an adjacent enclosed patio. The first reason here is for an element of privacy. The tram is a common public transport in Ghent and frequently stops in front of the house. Bedrooms are less likely to be used during daytime and are therefore better situated on the ground level. On the second hand the vistas you’ll get by moving the main functions upwards are much more interesting. The light is stronger and penetrates deeper into the house.
The architects have aimed to create a symbiosis between contemporary residential living and the charm of a 19th century Belgian corner house.