The client, a family of five, lives in an archetypical row house on a dense plot in the historic centre of Leuven. The home is transformed into a collection of connected spaces with very diverse characters: a very big, high and bright space with zenithal light becomes the centre of the project. A small adjoining brick shed is reached through a secret staircase. The street side room serves as a vestibule, a reception space plus storage room. The garden becomes an open air room with green walls and an oversized water element.
The central room is defined by a careful collision of building elements: a terrazzo floor slab, a thin concrete staircase, a green clay covered wall, a large sliding window and a floating glass and stretched metal roof.
These elements create a spatial equilibrium leaving a large part of what surrounds them visible and intact, creating the possibility to connect to the other rooms, or not. Defined not by function but by atmosphere, this collection of rooms becomes an ambivalent living environment, that feels continuous with other public and private rooms that compose the city fabric.
Photography: Maxime Delvaux
Location: Leuven, BE
Project team for 51N4E:
Johan Anrys, Jan Haerens, Charlotte Schmidt, Francesca Schiavello, Guillaume Boulanger, Jolein Bergers
Structural engineer: UTIL
Construction: BHC, Deknock & Aerts
Programme: single family house
Site surface: 200 m²
Built surface: 280 m²