Canal House / Studio Farris Architects

Canal House / Studio Farris Architects

©Koen Van Damme

© Martino Pietropoli© Martino Pietropoli© Martino Pietropoli© Martino Pietropoli+ 24

© Martino Pietropoli
© Martino Pietropoli

Text description provided by the architects. A small residence fits with originality among the houses overlooking the Brussels-Escaut maritime canal which divides the small town of Humbeek, part of the municipality of Grimbergen, in the province of Flemish Brabant in Belgium. By emphasizing the relationship with the canal, the project for this house is based on an original spatial configuration based on the definition of a new relationship between interior and exterior.

©Koen Van Damme
©Koen Van Damme

Designed by Studio Farris, Humbeek Canal House was created to replace a pre-existing building and makes the most of the available space by placing itself respectfully within the profile defined by the row of residential buildings facing the canal, respecting the roofscape to surrounding gables. . But the elegant adaptation to the urban context is enriched with new solutions, which extend the potential of the land and redefine the conditions of use of the house.

© Martino Pietropoli
© Martino Pietropoli
© Martino Pietropoli
© Martino Pietropoli

The other houses facing the canal do not exploit the presence of the watercourse, denying any possibility of relating both to the public dimension and to the view of the outdoor space. The traditional layout of the houses places the living quarters on the ground floor, with high windows protected by curtains for more privacy. Studio Farris then worked on the volumetry and distribution of space, emptying part of the original envelope, reversing the program by placing the living space upstairs and the sleeping areas on the ground floor. floor, and working on a careful redefinition of the boundaries between interior and exterior. .

If at the back the house uses the full permitted height, then it is at the front that the outline of the building is changed. The building recedes, resulting in an introverted facade that organizes around a new open space created by the subtraction of volume. The Studio Farris project thus determines an unexpected spatial arrangement consisting of an entrance courtyard on the ground floor, which acts as a filter between the street and the house, together with a small garden at the back of the home.

It is a kind of “Japanese court”, says Giuseppe Farris, recalling the work of Carlo Scarpa which he carefully studied during his studies at the IUAV University of Venice. The idea is that of a small secret garden, to be discovered beyond the gate that separates it from the road along the canal. In the yard, a tree introduces a natural feel, a sense of warmth and proportion. The two bedrooms on the ground floor also benefit from this calm and intimate state. One opens directly onto the courtyard, the other overlooks the backyard.

© Martino Pietropoli
© Martino Pietropoli
© Martino Pietropoli
© Martino Pietropoli

The courtyards also contribute to determining a spatial continuity between the ground floor and the upper floor, where the living rooms are organized. The staircase accessible from the entrance courtyard leads to the upper floor and unfolds next to the entrance courtyard, leading to the discovery of the view of the canal. At this point, the living room projects and expands outward through a terrace that brings air and light inside. The living room is extended by a dining room and, after reaching the back of the house, by the kitchen overlooking the second courtyard.

© Martino Pietropoli
© Martino Pietropoli
© Martino Pietropoli
© Martino Pietropoli

The relationship established between the interiors, the courtyards and the exterior spaces contributes to defining an ideal connection between the two floors and to giving the whole intervention a spatial continuity that reveals at every turn a new relationship with the exterior.

© Martino Pietropoli
© Martino Pietropoli

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