Habitat Groupé Bolette | Walhain, Belgium | 2017

A plot, a volume, two houses. Here is how we could summarize this project which has the particularity of housing two families who bought together a building plot in a small Brabant village.

Inspired by the historic rural constructions in its implantation but also in its volumetry and its materiality, the house BO expresses itself like a unit volume massive in brick thus conferring a strong and assumed presence in the landscape.

A lean-to, located on the street front, allows the building intended for both homes to set up further back. The privacy of the living spaces on the ground floor is thus ensured and a private front garden space for each dwelling is created. At the back of their home, the two families share a common garden, an orchard and a chicken coop.

The distribution of the two entities is done through an outer covered central passage. A slight fold in the 2 longitudinal facades also allows the distinction between the two houses from the outside. The covered passage allows to link the landscape between the front and the back, between the village and the countryside.

Inside the two houses, to offer views of the landscape, the living spaces are completely crossing and develop on two levels (kitchen / dining room on the ground floor and living room on R + 1). These are put in visual relation thanks to a subtle shift of the level of the parts of ni​​ght. This gives a great sense of space despite reduced dimensions and allows the light to propagate abundantly.

In addition, the contrast of the raw materials (concrete and wood) associated with the large openings on the landscape gives the spaces a warm and peaceful atmosphere.​ ​The materiality of the facades does not distinguish the 2 housing units to make the unit volume.

The building’s overall envelope is covered with a dark brown brick. The roof is covered with a black corrugated sheet analogous to farm buildings.​ ​The façades express directly the concept of linking the landscape with the dwelling via complete openings on the width of the living rooms.

The sustainable design of the project proposes to take advantage of its orientation to open living spaces to the south so as to enjoy “free” calories in winter and mid-season. In the summer, the through spaces open outwards, allowing natural ventilation to prevent overheating.  Choosing masonry and concrete as structural system allows storing calories and restituting them in different phases playing with construction’s inertia to avoid overheating peaks.

The house is heated by a geothermic heat pump and combined with controlled mechanical ventilation. The insulation of houses is defined on the basis of the low energy standard (K 30) ensuring energy optimization.

This project of two group housing offers the opportunity to two families to build a new housing of quality and accessible financially. The compactness of housing, the establishment of shared spaces, the exchange and the mutual help between the families made this project possible. Text description by thew architects.

Source: www.lrarchitectes.com
Photography by: Maxime Vermeulen