Frontispies loft


Frontispies loft

Brussels 2009

In the Brussels North quarter a developer converted an old warehouse into a multifunctional project with lofts on the upper floors. The top floor, and the former technical space above it, located on the roof, were merged into a large duplex loft of 220m2.

The ground floor has the typical structure with the open loft floor plan and is defined by the large windows overlooking the street. The bedrooms, office and bathroom are located on this floor. The metal staircase that connects the living quarters in the former technical chimneys is light and works its way through a one meter thick concrete floor.

For reasons of letting the residents enjoy of the two large roof gardens, the living room and kitchen was planned on the roof level. Because the building is on the list of protected buildings, interventions visible from the street were impossible. The introduction of light is done through a skylight in the roof, but also two windows in both side walls to the terrace. Legally it was not possible to enlarge the holes and structurally the rectangular hole in the centre concrete wall could not be changed. To maximise the view both windows were placed within these walls using an ultra-thin profile for the sliding wings and the frames were completely hidden, making it seem as if in both situations open and closed, no frame is visible. The hole in the thick centre wall accentuates the outward direction.

Undisguised transparency is the word in this loft. On the lower floor, this quest went even further. The bathroom located farthest from the street and is so from the light, gets direct light through the glass wall that is between the bathroom and bedroom and because of that it look a very spacious bathroom. You look through the bathroom from the bedroom to the panorama of the North quarter. Yet this openness is not absolute. If in the future the family status of the client, a bachelor, change it is still possible to cover the glasbox in the middle with curtains, so to be turned into a black box. Also, by placing the glass at regular intervals as vertical louvres the wood studs are giving according to their direction of view more or less obscure, playing a subtle game with minimal effort and maximum privacy liveability.

The interior, especially kitchen and bathroom follow the same pattern and juggle with the concepts of open and closed. Thus, the cooking area can be concealed by a hinged closet and even the shower and the washbasin can also be completely closed in the cupboard.

adato, n°1/10 (Luxembourg) 'Die jugen Wilden' - GG Kirchner