When the owners happened upon an early 20th-century house in Ghent, Belgium, the garden space and location sold them on the property despite the home’s rather dark and introverted character. To brighten up their new home, the owners tapped Qatarchitecten to renovate the three-story MILU house with a new concrete-clad extension and folding glass walls that pull the outdoors in. Original materials were preserved and reused wherever possible in the renovation to maintain the home’s historic character.
Built in 1936, the original brick masonry home lacked access to natural light due to the interior layout and small windows. The client brief for the renovation prioritized increasing the amount of daylight indoors and creating a connection with the backyard garden, in addition to a contemporary interior refresh. Qatarchitecten hit all those targets with the new rear extension that houses the kitchen and dining area.
In homage to the home’s traditional masonry, the extension was built of board-formed concrete balanced by timber cladding indoors. Wall-to-wall operable glass blurs the boundaries between indoors and out and allows ample amount of light inside. A green roof planted with wildflowers tops the roof and provides fuller garden views from the first floor.
The architects also knocked down walls to rearrange the interior layout and used board-formed concrete for new structural walls. “Being both striking and yet unassuming at the same time, this material creates an honest and timeless look and doesn’t withdraw the attention from the essence,” wrote the architects.
Images © Luc Roymans