Dakwoning Brugge : designed by Tom Vanhee

March 31, 2014

The subject of this renovation is a Unesco listed building situated in the historical, medieval centre of Bruges. Since the 17th century a pharmacy is located in this building. The typical stepped gabble was built in the beginning of the 18th century.The current living area of the owners is located above the pharmacy. Bedrooms on the first floor, living area and kitchen in the attic. The pharmacy wants to extend to the second floor, so the bedrooms need to move to the attic.  This attic is dark, small and low and so the owners were short of space. The apartment besides the attic gives an obvious extension to the attic and ables to access the apartment through an elevator, located in this part of the building.  All closed functions (hall, storage, bedrooms, bathroom,…) are located in the apartment so the attic can function as one open space. A slope between the attic and the apartment bridges the difference in floor height between both. Connection along the roof between attic and apartment gives the opportunity to foresee (sun)light in the heart of the attic. This connection had to be well discussed with the department of heritage.  This makes the attic fully opened. An intense relation between living- and kitchen area and bedroom is made possible by a sliding door. An open bathroom gives an open perception of space between bathroom and bedroom. In the middle of apartment and attic, combined to one, is a staircase which makes a connection between this housing unit and the pharmacy below. By opening the attic, the trusses, the staircase and the old walls are restored to their value as defining elements in the space.  Two contemporary sink dormers give the house a new restored identity. They open the closeness of the attic without compromising the historical character of the city. In stead they show new implementations can take place in an old, conserved city to approach the needs of new citizens.  The subtle intervention makes sure it doesn’t harm the image of this historical city, but still gives the image of something new. So it is not to be confused with already existing parts of the building, which could lead to a wrong interpretation of heritage.  Also inside the house there is a combination of use of old and new materials, warm and light materials.The white industrial floor gives brightness and accentuates the border between old attic and new apartment. The thin steel window framework makes sure there is a maximum view through the window without blocking it by a heavy framework. The roof construction is made of new steel trusses in combination with the old wooden ones.The renovation tried to be as energy-saving and sustainable as possible by using as much insulation as possible without doing any harm to the image of the old trusses. All glass is high-insulating as well. A condensation kettle makes sure the rooms can be heated. Further heating can happen with a new, two sided fire-place in the old preserved wall in the middle of the attic.                           

          Architect:Tom Vanhee
Photography: Filip Dujardin

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