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Located in the Prinsenhof, one of the oldest parts of Ghent’s historical city centre, this house was built as a replacement for two smaller houses. The building is situated at a corner, a blind alley flanks the house. Living room and dining room face an inner patio with a southwestern orientation; the kitchen is situated on the street side. The ground floor has been raised in order to prevent people from looking in.

In memory of the original dual former construction, the staircase has been placed in a central position. As in Le Corbusier’s Guiette House in Antwerp it is a continuous staircase; one walks off into the light, as it were. By separating the top floor from the common wall a ‘celestial room’ is created; a polyvalent space with windows on three sides.

A closed garage was dropped in favour of a covered space which forms a visual unit with the inner patio. An identical rhythm creates a relationship between the back and the annex. The very austere composition of the façade and the light ochre plaster make the building blend with the entirety of the street front. It is not a loud gesture monopolizing the attention, it is a deliberate search for a simultaneity of absence and presence.

Marc Dubois

Program: private house
Client: private
Location: Ghent, Belgium
Timeline: 1983 - 1986
Project Team: Marie-José Van Hee
Structural Engineer: BAS - Dirk Jaspaert
Photography: Kristien Daem