Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
WALL HOUSE in Near Brussels, Belgium by AND’ROL architecture
November 12th, 2013 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: AND’ROL architecture
DESCRIPTION by the architects
The plot’s particularities are on the one hand its perturbing position close to a steep rock slope, and on the other hand its small depth and its unusual longitudinal orientation parallel to the street.
Starting point for the young Belgian architects were traces of a nearby former stronghold. The main design element consists of an enclosing wall with a recessed rising part, to which the modest and sober main house nestles and adapts. A second shallow volume that houses a large number of storage spaces is also located behind the wall.
The architects chose light grey precast concrete lintels as a reinterpretation of the old fortress walls of rubble stone. The relief of the oozing courses of grout reinforces its rough character.
All three remaining facades are clad with dark grey fibre cement panels. The asymmetric roof features a deep-set window facing out to the south.
Inside, a split-level organization responds to the plot’s sloping ground, intensifies the open space concept and gives the compact building a generous and spacious character.
The used materials are deliberately kept simple and easy; the bare prestressed concrete slabs, the polished concrete flooring and the concrete kitchen peninsula reference the building’s exterior.
DESCRIPTION BY EVELYN M, Campbell River (Canada)
With a thin but long site sandwiched between a cliff and a street, AND’ROL architecture designed a home that made the most of the thin strip to create a home that offered spacious living and privacy from the road at its doorstep. The Wall House is located in Namur, near Brussels, Belgium, the home is comprised of a split-level layout to maximize space on the sloping site at the top of the cliff. Close to the residence is a nearby former stronghold and AND’ROL used that as their muse to create a home that reflects the heritage of old stone buildings within its façade. The modern materials used to create this nod to the past where light grey precast concrete lintels and dark grey fibreboard siding. The asymmetrical roofline breaks up the large expanse of grey, visually reducing the overall volume of the building.
The street is extremely close to building and the reinterpretation of fortress wall offers the homeowners privacy from site lines and through the natural sound barrier the materials provide. The entry way to the home is surrounded by a lower wall of the same precast concrete and the space beside the wall has been landscaped as a reminder of the terrain beyond the building.
The wall steps down in height in keeping with the lay of the land. On the sides of the building the precast concrete facade has been replaced with fibreboard siding installed on a 45 deg angle.
Inside the Wall House the setting contradicts the stone exterior. Here the setting is one of modern simplicity where colours punctuate an otherwise blank canvass. The floor continues the theme of concrete but here, rather then reinterpreting the rough setting of stonework, it has been polished into a smooth finish as has the kitchen counter tops. The concrete lentils have been used on the front of the kitchen peninsula for texture, but this limited use of it is a contrast to the rest of the interior spaces.
The kitchen peninsula makes use of what is normally dead space by providing a cubby for firewood storage and the natural wood tones within the firewood are a strong contrast to the surrounding shades of grey. An efficient wood stove is close at hand, blending harmoniously with the multiple tones of grey.
Just behind the dining table is the stairwell to the split-level home. The stairs have been designed to include bench seating with storage on the underside of the upper flight.
The stairs lead up to the middle level of the home and here a play space is set aside for the children. A deep window bay offers a great place to relax and enjoy a book.
The stairs continue up to the top level of the home and here sliding doors open to a balcony overlooking the views outside.
The balcony takes advantage of the asymmetrical roofline and runs the width of the building.
The Wall House is an intriguing combination of old and new within its details, and is as interesting from a distance as it is up close.
Up close you can see the grout purposely spilling forth from the concrete lentils to recreate the feel of a fortress wall.
The window louvers add an interesting graphic element to the concrete façade.
As does the diamond pattern surrounding the entry. The staggering of the windows creates rhythm to the facade as does the roofline.
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