W008 / Atelier Vens Vanbelle

W008 / Atelier Vens Vanbelle

  • W008 / Atelier Vens Vanbelle
  • W008 / Atelier Vens Vanbelle

The design

The design of this house was determined by two striking factors: first, the plot is enclosed by other plots, and secondly the clients plan to have lots of children.


The plot can be accessed via a narrow road which leads to an enclosed piece of land adjacent to the backs of the gardens of the neighbors. As it is a Flemish tradition to have a pavilion at the end of your parcel, the building plot is surrounded by backsides of these little pavillions.


In the design we attempted to provide an answer by looking at the facade as if it were also a kind of 'backside' towards the neighboring parcels. This was translated into a volume that opens itself towards the parcel only via a few strategically chosen openings on the ground level. The first floor is kept almost completely closed. We created a number of small openings from which you can peep inside the gardens of the neighbors, but the neighbors can't look into the house. Daylight on the first floor is provided by the roof, which has a specific form and is sepparated into four parts. To strenghten the idea of the 'backside' and to break the massiveness of the masonry we have chosen to incorporate a pattern of japanese wallpaper into the facade.


The clients also have a great love for children and cherish the desire to once have a family with four kids. Although we thought it would be absurd to build a house with four rooms for children at a moment there were no children, so we looked for a decent alternative.

This was translated into some 'sleeping boxes', of which the principle is very simple: on the first floor we created a large open space that can be filled according to the needs of the moment. Each time a child gets born the clients can add a 'sleeping box'. In this way they can not only spread the construction budget over the years, but it is basically incidental how many children eventually will come. Wardrobes, desks, etc were removed from the sleeping boxes and are located elsewhere on the first floor. This brings along great flexibility: the boxes are equipped with wheels, so different configurations are possible. Alternatively, the residual space can be filled according to the needs of the moment (playroom, office space, etc.)

The only permanent sleepingroom is the one of the parents, which is locatad on a mezzanine. The idea of the 'box on wheels', will also be applied on the ground floor: The study room will be a moving a bookcase made of wood.

We have also provided two staircases in the house so the first floor / play area will not be experienced as an endpoint of the house, but rather as a flow area.


Extra info

Site area:
528 m²

Construction period:


Consultant structure:
UTIL (Brussels)