Schellen Architecten

Modern villa Dilbeek

The client’s program was quite extensive: a minimalist house with clean lines, yet warm in atmosphere and practical in maintenance, with due attention to the hobbies of the residents. A car collector simply requires a large garage, and extensive fitness, wellness and a well-equipped kitchen completed the package of requirements. The architect built a spacious villa that is nonetheless sustainable and energy-friendly and which remains the scale of the residents in terms of space perception. Light, space and functionality are the key words, and of course an optimal contact with the beautiful garden.

Originally, it was two smaller plots that we had merged through an allotment change. The orientation and views were optimal: at the back the plot borders on a park and it also slopes backwards. This gives the opportunity to work with levels in the garden. The living area and all bedrooms are therefore fully focused on the landscape behind with a spacious glazed garden facade. Covered terraces and crossings provide the necessary protection against the rain and the midday sun. The house is quite closed on the street side. Deeper surfaces provide the necessary depth effect and the required discretion.

How does this design reflect your vision of architecture?

Typical of our architecture is that it is very sleek, rational and functional. It is therefore very important to us to introduce extra layers and tensions into each design. In every home I try to put something special in addition to the purely functional: a little bit of suspension, a surprise. When you see a design, you never fathom it from the first time. All people are different and so every house has to tell its own story.

Why the combination of the different construction materials?

Thanks to the traditional method of load-bearing masonry and concrete slabs, we can make wide spans and the building has the necessary mass and inertia. The facades are finished with natural stone façade panels, an alternation of off-white sand-lime brick and warm gray granite. The choice was made because of the timelessness, the beautiful smoothness and long-term durability. The carefully chosen super slim window frames hardly form a division between inside and outside.

How could you have given the extensive housing program a place?

By basing the house completely. The spacious garage is accessible by a car lift. Wellness, fitness and guest room can also be found on the basement floor. The ground floor houses the living areas and has contact with the mezzanine on the upper floor through a void behind the double-height window in the center of the house. On the first floor there are separate lockable zones for parents and children. In terms of circulation, we opted for a wide staircase with long steps and minimalist doors without visible handles.

What were the other points of attention for the interior?

The austere line of architecture is continued in this, just like in the garden and pool. The different spaces merge openly and seamlessly, the purity of the design without complex or far-fetched solutions brings peace, and in design and use of materials we made fair choices without losing sight of functionality. Colors bring atmosphere, sometimes striking, often very discreet and they support the design. Emphasizing strong lines in architecture with color is the icing on the cake.

How do you deal with sustainability in a very spacious project?

Sustainable construction starts with compact construction. Despite the spacious size of the house, it is nevertheless compact. I refuse to compromise on large glass areas. If a house is completely surrounded by nature, then it must also be a window to me. But we place these glass sections very thoughtfully, so that they also yield energy gains. We opted for glass that insulates well and the outer shell is well insulated. Both the heating and the hot water are fed by a heat pump on ground drillings and we aerate mechanically with heat recovery (system D). We are also increasingly studying the entire life cycle of materials: how were they produced, transported and how can they be reused later?
Photos Kris Dimitriadis and Yannick Milpas

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