Guest Contribution by Vera Tay Shumei
The Greenhouse - once a symbol of wealth and exclusivity back when it used to house the cucumbers for Emperor Tiberius’s table. Now, the once noble structure takes on a more humble form through Project ‘Greenhouse’.
Emerging amidst a myriad of Eco-homes, the ‘greenhouse’ stands out because of its affordability and heat trapping ability. The structure is framed by a ready-made steel structure and encased in an alternating series of super-insulating transparent glass and translucent polycarbonate plates. Extra insulation is also added at the back of the glass walls to shield certain areas of the house from the public eye. Through the clever use of the insulating glass, the same heating effect that is found in a real greenhouse is successfully mimicked. This occurs when heat from the sun’s rays passes through the glass walls and warms up the interior whilst the insulation in the glass prevents the heat from escaping.
The greenhouse is located in Asse - Belgium. Designed by the Belgian architect Carl Verdickt, the house is furnished minimally with whites and woods to complement the feeling of ‘openness’ that prevails throughout the abode. Such is achieved through the reverted house layout in which the private quarters are located below whilst the rest of the house is located above and set in an open-floor concept. This way, the architect is able to take advantage of the elevation to highlight the foliage and surrounding scenery through the floor-to-ceiling windows as well as attain ‘openness’.
A loft is added to serve as a private room for social or private activities like a reading room to maximise the use of space without hampering the airiness. For the nighttime, the revolving fireplace installed at the side of the room would provide solace on particularly wintry nights.
In contrast to the second storey, the private quarters beneath is arranged in a ‘closed’ manner with narrow corridors and minimal windows. It is likely that this is done deliberately, perhaps to further heighten the sensation of openness above when you walk up the stairs and to emphasize the level of privacy below.
photos by Luc Roymans