Designed by Office O Architects (OOA), this family residence located in a rural area of Tremelo, Belgium, makes both an architectural and a sculptural statement with its unique voluptuousness and experimental approach to interior spacing. Having a client who encouraged experimentation and enforced no restrictions, the architects eschewed orthogonal geometry and opted instead for curved walls, sloping ceilings and a pinched bowtie-like plan.
With its wave-like concrete façade, the building turns its back to the street, securing both privacy and views, as well as ensuring environmental soundness: by shielding the spaces to the north and opening them up with floor to ceiling glazing to the south, south-east and south-west, there’s considerably less heat loss and more solar gains during winter, whereas setting them back according to the orientation provides the necessary shading during the summer.
The flowing sense of the building’s shell is also characteristic of the interior planning whereby the spaces unfold in a sequential order across five split-levels, each half a level higher than the other. The entrance level, reached by a wide ramp, part of the carefully designed landscaping that frames the building among the surrounding pines, accommodates the garage and the master bedroom. Half a level up is the kitchen and dining area, opening up to the terrace and pool. Another level up is the living area, bathed in daylight though the full-height glazing and a linear skylight following the sloping of the roof while further up the children’s bedrooms funnel out into a balcony overlooking the land.
Connecting all the levels, and sitting at the very heart of the whole design, a ramp-like staircase with shallow steps provides both physical access and visual contact among the spaces, allowing a natural flow from one into the other. This concept of interconnectedness is further accentuated by a protective mesh of interweaved parabolic cables that rises through the stairwell like a futuristic spine.