Having outgrown their single-story bungalow, a family approached Ghent-based architectural firm WE-S architecten for an expansion and renovation that would also bolster the home’s energy performance. The architects responded with an unusual proposal: an extension that appears to pierce straight through the existing structure at an angle. Clad in brick, the House TlL in Pittem, Belgium now spans 3,025 square feet with an east-west addition that follows site-specific passive design principles for improved energy performance.

brick house with large ceiling to floor windows surrounded by grass
brick house with large ceiling to floor windows

The clients’ former bungalow was not only poorly insulated, but also suffered from poor space allocation: a seldom-used indoor garage had occupied about a quarter of the home’s footprint. After conducting site studies, the architects removed the indoor garage and placed it to the front of the brick house in a covered parking pad as part of the new extension. Part of the volume is cut out of the building to maximize daylight, while the covered terrace protects the interior from cold westerly winds.

brick house with large ceiling to floor windows surrounded by grass
white walls and floor are illuminated with natural light from large nearby windows with a fireplace in living area

Related: A mountain refuge in Spain is brought back to life with brickwork

Walls of glass bring natural light and air into the interiors, which have been renovated to look bright and airy. White-painted walls and a palette of natural materials with pops of greenery help achieve a minimalist aesthetic. The roofline has also been raised to heighten the spacious feel and bring additional light indoors. An open-plan living area, dining room, and kitchen occupy the heart of the brick house. The raised roofline allows for the creation of two rooms on the upper floor, one of which serves as a bedroom.

fireplace pipe passes through floor and ceiling
large wood table in dining room surrounded by white walls and minimalist designs and plants

“The project tries to interweave the existing bungalow within its environment with certain simplicity in planning and materialization,” explain the architects in a press release. “Variable room heights play a game of compression and decompression, which has its center of gravity in the double-height living space.”

+ WE-S architecten

Images via Johnny Umans

white tiles and walls adorn the bathroom with plants placed near tub