Refuge | Bonheiden, Belgium | 2021

The Refuge is inserted in a landscaped garden of a single-family house deep in Flanders’ suburban landscape. After the existing house was rebuilt, the surrounding landscape was unkempt resulting in a wild and untamed site.
The house sits on a raised plinth, which elevates the ground floor from the wild context, giving a sense of monumentality to the existing villa in contrast to the surrounding green.

The site was restructured by positioning the Refuge in the centre of the garden according to the double-axis system of the Villa and the bent parcel boundaries of the site. Surrounding the pool house, a set of landscape elements were carefully planted: a filter pond, patio, bicycle shed, and storage room. The Refuge includes a swimming pond with an etching studio. It is a concrete container with precise openings that frame the landscape. A circular arch holds the space together. The landscape design grows out of this and complements the building. A circular ‘hortus conclusus’ is created that completes the shape of the cut-out from the roof plate. The circle is used as a visual language for the abstracted version of a clearing in the forest. Every frame that arises throughout the space engages in a dialogue with the existing house and nature.

The Refuge is positioned as a link to the garden. Like the house, it is an element on a new sand-coloured concrete path from the street to the yoga platform. The red robust concrete shell stands in soft contrast to the complementary green surroundings. The red is a nuance of the existing house and the new landscape elements in the same deep red brick. The large sliding window in the refuge is in line with the house and divides the pavilion into a hard exterior and a soft, isolated interior. All metal elements that emerge from the landscape have the same purple-red colour as the joinery: lighting poles, gates, and kitchen garden areas. The interior cladding is made of the formwork panels of the concrete works into which the red pigment has been soaked, directly reused. The nuance between concrete and plyw​​ood is minimal. Text description by the architects.

Photography by: Jeremy Piret