House extension, Mortsel


For Bruun Geysen and Nadia Spoelders

Design: Dirk Somers, Merijn Muller and Christopher Paesbrugghe

A renovation and extension of a semi-detached house near Antwerp.
The house shares a little alley with its neighbour.
The alley provides a direct connection from the street to the garden.

The rear facade, with the old additions of kitchen and bathroom. The additions are being replaced.

Existing floor plan. The additions extend the distance between the street and the garden.
The room in the middle receives little daylight.

The new extension is not an addition to the old house. We propose a second house. This back house is a mirror image, a twin to the front house: it's a brick house again, with a pitched tiled roof, some rooms and a chimney and a staircase.

The 'front' facade of the back house is oriented to the garden. The side facade folds inward at the connection of both houses. The long alley has a centre point now: a little terrace.

Ground floor plan. Kitchen and dining room move to the front house. The living room is situated in the back house. The widening of the alley gives acces to the kitchen. This middle room receives daylight again.

First floor plan. The rooms in the back house are positioned around a void. A staircase connects the rooms. Staircase and chimney make the back house complete.

The extension is composed out of one massive wall. Wooden floor and roof girders make the connection between the new wall and the existing party wall. All divisions are designed as light infills.

A side elevation of the two houses. The proximity of the neighbour does not allow for many windows.

We use the brickwork to reveal the section of the back house. Muuratsalo, Aalto's summer house as an inspiration.

The new side elevation. The section determines the masonry patchwork. The same patchwork is repeated on the inside. The facade as a projection of the interior.

Whitewashed brickwork that binds everything together again. The wall becomes an abstract collage of textures.
A photo by Karin Borghouts, from the series 'rooilijn' - 2003.

The extension seen from aside.

Just as the house is a mirror image, so is the cavity wall.

The interior facade.

The rear facade as a light infill between the party wall and the new wall.

The living room.

The central void.

View of the working place from the sitting room.

The new staircase. A stack of bulky elements with an elegant balustrade.
Differences in height, combined with a void provide for long perspectives through the house.

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