Franken House has been designed by Bekhor Architecte and is situated in an urban environment of Brussels, Belgium where row or town houses in well aligned facades are the standard. The home was originally a carpentry workshop that had become neglected during the last 20 years. At the very beginning, a fence wall was used as protection between the private property and the public space. It was just 2 meters high with no other utility than to separate. The existing volume was constructed around 1930 by raising the main elevation over the existing fence wall and completing the volume enclosure behind it.
The suspended cube that can be seen on the exterior facade is a result of the structure’s extension. The structural grid in steel is filled by a wooden frame. The facade is expressed backwards against the existing blank wall. In order to emphasize the attitude towards this brick wall, a stair is backed on it and animated by an overhead light, offering different atmospheres during the day.
The second guideline was to relink this unordered urban space. The new “skyline” of the project is made of different in a row of “step volumetry”. Levels are open spaces, but each have connection with closed rooms in order to make privacy possible. Material treatments are chosen to break the frontier between the inside and the outside. These materials like steel, zinc, wood or coating are used in both situation in a fluid continuity.
Photos: Laurent Brandajs