The traditional layout of the groundfloor wasn't very special in this existing three-façade-house. The suite of three rooms - from street façade to the garden side - answered to a bourgeois idea of living from the nineteenth century that is now outdated but also doesn't satisfy the current spatial needs. MJVH began to rework the tunnel-like living room and the back façade and came this way to a couple of solutions for the kitchen, the entrance, the staircase and the bathroom. The house is now again up to date without forsaking it. De continuity of the suite is still aparent, but alternatingly articulated instead of grey and all the same. The passage between the front room and the middle room was moved and made more narrow and can be closed off with a sliding wall from the streetlife. The next corridor however has been made wider and gets the middle room more than ever connected to the garden. At the garden side the direction of the space turns. A completely glazed façade wraps itself as a curtain in front of the living room and around the new dining area to the kitchen. This way a passage is created perpendicular on the main direction of the house and a diagonal line of sight between the dining area and the lounge. The relation with the garden has been made more intense but not vulgarly without treshold. The enclosing glass walls, the ample roof overhangs, raising the terrace, the little stairs outside that do not penetrate straight into the garden but is hiding behind the corner: everthing aims to make the garden an intermediate space that reminds us of the central role that outdoor rooms such as the courtyard or patio have in other houses of MJVH.
CREDITS: Program: Reconversion of a private house Client: Ms. Steel Location: Gent, Belgium Timeline: 2000 - 2003 Project Team: Marie-José Van Hee (architect), Dietlinde Verhaeghe (project architect) Structural Engineer: BAS - Dirk Jaspaert Photography: Kristien Daem, students of University of Leuven text: Kristiaan Borret translation: Frederik De Smedt