Individual Housing, Grimbergen (Belgium)


Individual Housing, Grimbergen (Belgium)

Extending the old with the new: for centuries, architecture was all about re-use, until abundance of materials made recycling and recovery obsolete.






Architect: MarS Architecten bvba, Contractor: SYMAERTS 
Technique: Locally produced panels similar to VMZINC® Sine wave profileSurface aspect: QUARTZ-ZINC®


Although sustainable development today encourages recycling of materials and buildings, re-use is not always a given and the first obstacle is the condition of the objects to be re-used. It seemed a difficult task to give new life to this derelict farm building on the outskirts of the Belgian town of Grimbergen. The Urban Plan granted permission to build four new houses on this plot occupied by an old barn and a small outbuilding, both in very poor repair. But the owner, who was attached to the beauty of this miniature ruin, asked the architect to retain the existing walls and build a single house.



Having removed the roof, the architects from the MarS studio inserted a metal structure behind the brick walls in order to install the new facades and floors. The entrance was placed in an empty space between the barn and the outbuilding, framing a view of the field to the rear of the house. The former entrance is now a large window that creates transparency between the front and the rear of the house. The new horizontally installed sine wave zinc cladding is reminiscent of the old farm sheds in corrugated galvanized steel and creates a clear distinction between the new and the old. The link between the two buildings recalls the symbiotic relationship between certain shellfish and their shells at the bottom of the ocean.



Could the MarS Architecten have been inspired by the strategy of the Hermit Crab?