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- 1601 Sint-Pieters-Leeuw
This space of 110m2 in the former industrial complex ‘The Mills of Ruisbroek’ is located about ten kilometres from Brussels city centre between the green pastures of the Pajottenland and the canal Brussels-Charleroi.
As a starting-point for his design the architect chose to maintain the concrete contours of the original complex. Existing structures (brick walls, ceiling and beams in concrete) were kept intact as much as possible and were all painted in white to obtain unity between the different elements and materials. Thus, the roughness of the original building is deliberately articulated. By adding a new rectangular volume to the original layout the architect aimed to highlight the contrasts between the old structure and the new white box in smooth plaster placed within.
Because of the free-standing nature of the new volume, it is still possible from anywhere in the space to have an unobstructed outlook on the surrounding landscape outside. Moreover the second floor of the volume with an open office overlooking the living room area, functions as a watching-tower for its inhabitants from which they can oversee large parts of the pastoral Pajottenland. .
Inside of the new volume, that contains all functions except for dining and living room, the height of the ceilings of the different rooms on the ground floor (bedroom, dressing room and bathroom) are kept rather low, so that it became possible to add another floor to them containing the office and an extra guest room.
But what at first sight seems an unambiguous story of a volume consisting of two stacked floors is actually more complex. The two stories are not just placed one on top of the other but seem to be entangled. The discrete rise in worktable height, a bulge as it were, transforms the underlying ceiling of the bathroom so that when entering it feels unexpectedly high and spacious.
Thanks to the introduction of this compact volume, the living and dining area feel very lofty and the
original nature of the industrial building remains intact.