In the design of House K in Buggenhout (Belgium), Graux & Baeyens develop the two key themes of relationship with surroundings and distribution of light. House K is an independent villa standing in a residential district characterised by brick homes with gardens built in the last century. The lot on which Graux & Baeyens’ House K is built is cut out between a small piece of land on which an independent house stands and another with a house built on the side bordering with House K’s lot. The architects decided to build the new house right next to this one, creating a single path on the opposite, eastern side leading to the garden at the back. The home’s floor plan is characterised by a diagonal wall following the shape of the lot on the eastern side: the front wall is 12.70 metres wide, but the house tapers off towards the garden.
Blending among the houses around it, with their brick walls and steep tiled roofs, offers an opportunity for reflection on the typical Belgian home and this contemporary interpretation of it. Brick is still used as the covering material, with thin tiles with a horizontal orientation like those on the main façade, which dialogues with the façade of the house next to it, about fifty years older. But the elevation is very much changed: no longer a regular, symmetrical geometry with the door in the middle, but an off-centre door which is set back, a part of the wall inclining backwards, as if to point to the path to the garden, and no windows at all at ground level, just narrow slits for letting light into the bedrooms while guaranteeing privacy and silence.
Above the stringcourse, there is a single large window on the façade with white aluminium frames and sunshades set at an angle to visually connect the interior with the street while screening the interior from view from the outside. Graux & Baeyens declare the poetry of House K with these few simple elements aimed at seeking light while preserving the intimacy of the home.
Beyond the aluminium-framed windows on the first floor is a partially covered patio, of irregular shape like the layout of the home. The patio may be accessed directly from outside, via a concrete staircase from the back garden, literally wedged between the wall of the adjacent building and that of House K. All the walls and part of the floor around the patio are made of glass. Light from the west floods the first floor of the home, where the living area is located, and dives down into the level below, where white walls diffuse and multiply it.
Introverted on three sides, House K dialogues directly with the garden to the south, with the floor to ceiling windows of the living room and a small balcony overlooking it.
Design: Graux & Baeyens architecten
Location: Buggenhout (Belgium)
Built surface: 173.5 sqm
Lot size: 433 sqm
Project start: 2008
Black and white aluminium frames
Brick outer cladding
Photos: © Luc Roymans