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Barn Conversion

This project is about finding the right balance between the old and making interventions to form a modern living space. I started this project after graduating and at the moment the construction is nearly finished.

This former agricultural farmhouse was constructed in 1925 and had a living area in the front and a stable at the back. Both under one roof. The urgent need to repair the building was a reason for a total renovation. The former facade had rather small openings and to anticipate to this, all the living spaces are placed on the south side of the building. Additionally, all the corridors end up facing openings so that there is always contact with the outside landscape.


Picture from 1930

Although the layout of the front of the building refers to the former farmhouse, the rear of the building is reinterpreted as a contemporary living space. Old elements such as the wooden structure, the dung pit, and the small steel windows have been preserved. New parts such as the vertical fireplace element and the horizontal balcony are not aligned with the old structure in order to prevent the structure of disappearing within the new build parts. Together the fireplace element and the balcony form a sculptural object and function as a spatial node. With its a-centric position these elements are prevented to become static objects and instead establish a spatial movement throughout the farmhouse.

Design Atelier in Mendrisio

A new academy building

The proposed new academy building is situated on a descending plot surrounded by three existing characteristic buildings.

The new building volume is the result of a study of different building options. The relatively compact building encloses a space which forms a square in between the existing buildings. Thereby the square adds to a sequence of already existing open spaces between the buildings.

A formal entrance at the lower part of the building serves as an entrance for the visitors from the station. The entrance leads toward the atrium in the center of the building. From the atrium on the ground floor, an underground connection is formed with the Teatro dell’architettura.


The atrium

Inside, the workspaces are distributed around the atrium surrounded with cabinets for models. An open corridor and situating the main route of the building along the studios stimulates interaction between the ateliers, therefore encouraging curiosity.

Toward the southern side of the building the floor plan is shifted to situate workspaces along the atrium. These offices are for the student assistants and professors associated with the design ateliers on the same floor.

In the corridor, direct sunlight is captured during the winter. The warmed air creates an airflow through the building. Eventually the closed corridor serves as an ideal place to have a phone call or a private conversation separated from the open atelier.


The design studio

An important feature of the design ateliers is the way in which they are open to other people. Passers-by can join the discussions or walk by, even when there are “critics” with the professors. This curiosity is important and enriches the ability to learn from each other. A corridor as part of the design studio improves visibility and encourages interaction between the studios.


The facade

Facing towards the square, the window openings are larger and create a more open character. The angled reveals of the window stimulate the entry of the sun. On the other side of the building, the angled reveals of the window play with the observer. The solidity of the building appears to be different when looking from different directions. Whereas from the inside, the angled surface allows a view overlooking the valley of Mendrisio and the mountain passage toward Lugano.

Solid – Framework

Solid – Framework is a series of cubes made from gypsum. The two concepts solid and framework are inspired by the theorie of Godfried Semper where he makes a clear distinction about ‘Stereotomy works’ and ‘Tectonic works’. Both concepts are translated to an abstract form of a cube.

Filter – Blue Gate Antwerp

The design concerned the transformation of the former Petroleum Zuid area in Antwerp, renamed in 2011 ‘Blue Gate’ so as to emphasize the eco-effective, international and future-oriented character of the site.

Its location is right next to the city of Antwerp and a large portion of the ‘Blue Gate’ extends along the Scheldt River. Since 1950 the Petroleum Zuid area has not been longer in use and numerous proposals have been made for its reuse. In 2011, the ‘Strategic Master Plan’ for the area was approved; it envisions a ‘sustainable industrial park’ that will provide location for green companies.

The design focused on the quay area of the Blue gate, were most of the old industrial buildings are located and which is also exposed to water floods.