With a thin but long site sandwiched between a cliff and a street, Georg Schmidthals of AND’ROL architecture designed a home that made the most of the thin strip to create a home that offered spacious living and privacy from the road at its doorstep. The Wall House is located in Brussels, Belgium, the home is comprised of a split-level layout to maximize space on the sloping site at the top of the cliff. Close to the residence is a nearby former stronghold and Georg used that as his muse to create a home that reflects the heritage of old stone buildings within its façade. The modern materials used to create this nod to the past where light grey precast concrete lintels and dark grey fibreboard siding. The asymmetrical roofline breaks up the large expanse of grey, visually reducing the overall volume of the building.
The street is extremely close to building and the reinterpretation of fortress wall offers the homeowners privacy from site lines and through the natural sound barrier the materials provide. The entry way to the home is surrounded by a lower wall of the same precast concrete and the space beside the wall has been landscaped as a reminder of the terrain beyond the building.
The wall steps down in height in keeping with the lay of the land. On the sides of the building the precast concrete facade has been replaced with fibreboard siding installed on a 45 deg angle.
The entryway itself consists of a cutout section to the precast concrete lentils and a black surround with a diamond pattern defines the location as it peaks out above the privacy fence.
Inside the Wall House the setting contradicts the stone exterior. Here the setting is one of modern simplicity where colours punctuate an otherwise blank canvass. The floor continues the theme of concrete but here, rather then reinterpreting the rough setting of stonework, it has been polished into a smooth finish as has the kitchen counter tops. The concrete lentils have been used on the front of the kitchen peninsula for texture, but this limited use of it is a contrast to the rest of the interior spaces.
The kitchen peninsula makes use of what is normally dead space by providing a cubby for firewood storage and the natural wood tones within the firewood are a strong contrast to the surrounding shades of grey. An efficient wood stove is close at hand, blending harmoniously with the multiple tones of grey.
Just behind the dining table is the stairwell to the split-level home. The stairs have been designed to include bench seating with storage on the underside of the upper flight.
The stairs lead up to the middle level of the home and here a play space is set aside for the children. A deep window bay offers a great place to relax and enjoy a book.
The stairs continue up to the top level of the home and here sliding doors open to a balcony overlooking the views outside.
The balcony takes advantage of the asymmetrical roofline and runs the width of the building.
The Wall House is an intriguing combination of old and new within its details, and is as interesting from a distance as it is up close.
Up close you can see the grout purposely spilling forth from the concrete lentils to recreate the feel of a fortress wall.
The window louvers add an interesting graphic element to the concrete façade.
As does the diamond pattern surrounding the entry.
The staggering of the windows creates rhythm to the facade as does the roofline.
Photography by Georg Schmidthals