RABBIT HOLE . Gaasbeek

LENS°ASS ARCHITECTS . photos: © PHILIPPE VAN GELOOVEN . © ANDRI HAFLIDASON . Mies Arch Award 13 NOMINEE . International Brick Award

A farm, including five buildings, located on a unique site in close proximity to the Gaasbeek Castle, becomes a private family home and veterinary practise.

The ground floor of the residential building with the adjoining cow stables was converted into a veterinary practice and a garage. The upper floor accommodates a guestroom at the front and the children’s bedrooms at the back. The windows were recessed in the roof’s depth to conserve the rural character.
The largest volume, the haystack, became the central room of the new apartment. The openings of both large gates were maintained and completely glazed. A large concrete table, around which everyday life takes place, was positioned between the large windows.
The semi-subterranean “vaulted chamber” of the barn was maintained as a storeroom, whilst the upper side made from brick serves as sitting area. The area above accommodates the parents’ bedrooms, with ‘interior windows’ on the high and open space.

Whereas the reorganisation of the working and living functions was already specified, it was, however, a much more complex task to connect the various volumes. And here lies the particularly notable quality of this project: solving various functional aspects with a single intervention. Bart Lens designed a funnel-shaped annex sheltering the entrance to the veterinary practice and the private area.
The floorings, walls and the roof as well as the new terraces were made of the same paving brick, thus creating a unity within the new volume and establishing a new link between the existing volumes. Simultaneously, a closed off courtyard is formed, which is sheltered from the prevailing western winds and prevents views from the road.
Brick is not solely used as a building material, but also as a concept reinforcing the existing structure - brick as “linking” element between the past and the present.

Office / Architect
Croes Technology , Andri Haflidason, Georg Schmidthals, Walter Van Erum, Maurice Vierendeel

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