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.
Rumples in Leuven, Belgium by Marge architecten bv bvba
January 23rd, 2018 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Marge architecten bv bvba
The project consists of a renovation of a historic mansion in Leuven (Belgium) of which the main focus is enhancing life quality and reorganizing living on the ground floor. A new extension is realized, supported by steel trusses, a sort of lightfilled city-cabin. In the historic mansion furniture is introduced in the existing carriage-corridor, as a way of mediation with the oversized corridor and practical organization of a few smaller functions in to a dense cluster.
The renovation aims at an interesting spaciousness and lots of daylight. Not only does the roof provide for a maximum glazing of the rear façade, but it also provides for a unique triangular window, pouring daylight onto the spot where extension and historic mansion meet (usually the darkest place of the house). The project is organized in such a way that in time the inhabitants can fully live on the ground floor and the upper floors can be let without interference. The combination of materials – the newly poured terrazzo, oak, glass fiber reinforced polyester, newly designed stained glass – make up for a noble and specific addition to the historic elements of the mansion.
To be fair it’s already there now, and it’s been there for a while too. The house, yes, that too, but also the part behind it. The extension, the house behind the house: an annex of all sorts of places, rooms, different windows, materials, niches and chimneys. Nooks and crannies. Lots of different places, that’s for sure. Technically aged and kind of unpractical, that too. No beloved relationship between the building and the garden. Little dialogue with the broad building in front of it. Even more, all the little places didn’t seem to suffice and because of that, part of the program has started to spill into the corridor, which was too big and doing close to nothing there anyway. So we build again, but better. Re-building. Repeat-building.
The façade is inclined, so the new rear facade is also inclined. On top of that a roof, and on top of that a carpet of moss. Seven meters between both neighbors is a little too much for a classic roof construction without supports, so we’ll have to do something different then. For starters we’ll need a straight line along the back facade. Then come in two trusses that start to fold the roof. A clinked roof. Straight lines and slanted lines form a ruled surface. The roof gets a first crinkle along the garden, which makes it nice and sturdy. The garden facade is fully glazed, big parts of it can be pushed in both directions. A second crinkle pushes the roof up near the kitchen. Lots of light, deep into the old house. From the garden, the new extension seems like some kind of distorted greenery. From the inside, an higgledy-piggledy cabin. A cabin in the city.
Inside a piece of furniture we find a bench, a bookcase and a kitchen, all pieced together. The piece of furniture suggests zones in the spacey extension without enforcing them. A sliding door hangs from a truss. Beyond that, already in the historical house stands a new wall. It resembles the piece of furniture, but it also features patterned glass. The edge of a new room. Beyond that, another wall. In between those two walls is a space, a place for silence and study, somewhere halfway between the house and the extension. The stairs in the corridor also gets a new wall with patterned glass. The old, big corridor becomes lots of new places. It learns from the former extension. Skylight falls through the truss, beneath the crinkle, deep into the corridor. The garden ajar.
A new, clinked extension full of ambiguous rooms, places without borders, places that change form. A house and a cabin, with reading, sitting and cooking; the food, the books and the garden. With nooks and crannies and windows. The gardens life partner, but the houses mistress.
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