Location: Aarschot, Belgium
Category: Private residence
Type: Newly built
Surface: 445 m²
Status: 2007-2010, completed

On a steep slope at the edge of a pine tree woodland, we were asked to build a modern, low-energy home for a young family. Due to the substantial programmatic requirements, the initial wish for a bungalow was soon abandoned. The site, with its landscape of trees and its sloping character, held much potential. When approaching it however, it felt disorienting and in need of anchoring – functionally and experientially. We anchored the project into the slope to avoid using the maximum footprint. The client’s passion for Swiss concrete and natural stone houses led to the idea of a massive concrete volume floating over a masonry base.

The house is laid out over two floors. The lower level is set into the slope, only opening up on the northern side with four bedrooms that connect to a walled garden. The second patio, cut out in the meadow, also provides daylight to the spacious central hall. The front elevation is completely closed; on the left side, the monumentally cantilevered volume hides the main entrance while functioning as a carport. The design features continuous walls throughout, and shows little compromise towards its surroundings. The upper floor is laid out as a continuous living space, whose roof provides a constructive sunscreen to allow the interior to open up to the garden.

Thanks to its massive materiality, closed ventilation system, triple glazing, heat pump and high-performance insulation, the house complies with the impressive K30/E60 standard, proving that cutting-edge architecture and sustainability can go hand in hand.

Photography: © Bieke Claessens