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Flanders House: SAOTA designs contemporary home in Belgium

Project name:
Flanders House
Architecture firm:
Adam Letch
Principal architect:
Design team:
Philip Olmesdahl, Joe Schutzer-Weissmann, Nasreen Larney, Bobby Labrou & Valerie Lehabe
Apart Architects (Architect of Record), Hadewijch Geuskens (Project Manager), Graham Wood (Text), TKI Interiors (Furnishing)
Interior design:
Pieter Laureys
Built area:
20 002 m²
Site area:
173 932 m²
Design year:
Completion year:
Civil engineer:
Structural engineer:
Environmental & MEP:
High End Electro (Electrical Engineer)
Wirtz International
Cone Lighting
Tools used:
Van Mourik Bouw

This house on a large, wooded lot in the Flanders region of Belgium offered SAOTA an opportunity to design a distinctive contemporary architectural object in the landscape that would simultaneously serve as a warm, outward-looking living environment and engage meaningfully with its surroundings.  

The principal components of the master plan include a main house above a basement parking garage and a separate pool pavilion with a home office. The house and pavilion are linked via landscaped courtyards, a structured system of koi ponds and a swimming pool.

The exterior design is composed of solid cubes and interconnecting glazed voids, which are unified with a slender canopy that wraps around three sides to form outdoor terraces. Clustered vertical columns double as sculptural screens. The facade design is an expression of the interior layout. The client’s preference for traditional, defined rooms rather than an open-plan arrangement led to cellular interior spaces that open outwards onto the terraces and inwards towards a double-volume central atrium with skylights. The house responds to the local climate by fostering an indoor-outdoor lifestyle in summer, and an introverted, cosy environment centring on the atrium in winter. The way in which the cellular character of the rooms fragments or erodes as they open to the terraces and atrium makes for fluid transitions and invites glimpses of the garden deep into the interiors. 

The exterior façades feature a restrained palette of materials - slabs of Giallo D’Istria marble cladding on the walls, sandstone floors, and paneled Alucabond aluminium sheets along the fireplace broken up by large glass panels. The contrast between the precision of the architectural detailing and the organic textures of the materials amplifies their inherent beauty. 

The simplicity and formal clarity of this home’s design, both as an architectural object and as a tranquil living environment, aims to facilitate an authentic, connected relationship with its natural setting.

By Naser Nader Ibrahim

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