Renovation of a rowhouse in which alcoves organise light and life

Kessel-Lo, 2016 - ..., private client

The existing house is what one would expect considering a old house. There are many rooms, each with its function. Upstairs for sleeping, downstairs for practical things. Beneath the house there’s a basement and on top there’s an attic. It’s a good house, like the many identical houses in the street. At the back there are some extra rooms. They must of been added later on, we notice there the remainders of a kitchen and a bathroom. There’s a small window and a narrow door. Through the little window we can see the big garden. The extra rooms behave like the garden is just a sideshow, it’s only the unbuilt space, the leftover of the plot of land, there’s really not much to see there. The house rather looks inwards. The house is not yet inhabited, one or more things got to be done first.

The extension blocks -quite literally- modern life. Strained in-between house and garden it doesn’t allow any light in the house and no view towards the garden. It’s a funnel, which is on top of that constipated. The middle room suffers. She’s stuck, dark and functions nowadays only a passage to the extension. Some things are being demolished. The extension is gone and the middle room sees the light for a first in a long time. The renewed house learns from the past. A big hole in the roof all the way down to the floor allows sun, wind and rain in-between house and garden. A big hole in the wall all the way up to the staircase allows people in the living rooms. The middle room can breathe again, its borders perforated. This time we built using holes, because holes leave out any unwanted mass. A renewed house, with holes smacking breaches in-between different conditions, with holes for the sun and for the people.

Kessel-Lo (Leuven)

Lime (structure)
2BSafe (energy and safety consultant)

Portus (structural work)
Koen Ysewijn (windows)
Peter De Boel (carpentry)

construction site  

construction site  

A big hole in the roof to the floor  

construction site  

A big hole in the wall to the stair