Mechelen, Belgium, 2017

Simple and logical structure, free to adapt to the needs and wishes of the users.

When defining a row house the danger exist to only use the boundaries that are given, this leading towards a separation of spaces within the house leaving out any form of spatial quality, light and fluidity.

This led to define just the opposite by disconnecting from the existing boundaries and connecting towards the neighborhood. Using light, spatial quality, exchange between areas, flexibility and unity between spaces and their direct surrounding. By doing so we defined fragments of an inner façade and not just a front- and back façade. The transition in relation to the street, intimacy of the users towards the garden can easily be exchanged.

Future design principles help define the row house to be flexible and simple in its layout while leaving the possibility to change the individual and collective areas within the house. The current design can easily be transformed according to the users needs and whishes: more or less rooms, adding a playroom for children, shifting the kitchen by adding different compositions.

Defining a central object helps to create a spatial intervention all through the house. Using it as an organizational object it helps create the different compositions. Bringing light into the heart of the house guides the visitors towards the entrance of the house.

Placing the entrance more inwards creates depth and a playful connection between the inner and exterior spaces. The front of the row house connects with the neighborhood through the façade which interacts. A window is more than a frame to catch light, it forms a bench that can be used to meet neighbors. Each floor has an external space connecting to its surrounding. It defines additional spatial quality, different vistas and connections between spaces.

Using natural materials, we are able to define a row house which use circular principles. Using a modular system to define its structure, internal organization and help define interior objects which connect all spaces.

Defining a sustainable, futureproof design within a circular economy shows that this does not mean that you can’t have spatial quality, different vistas and natural light. It defines the possibility for a house to grow, not seeing what the future will hold, to always create a home no matter what the users needs might be.

Project information
Single BEN House
Gross floor area 172 m²

Competition, winning design

In collaboration with
TC Plus



Structural engineer

Cobe Ingenieurs

Building energy efficiency