Row houses, or terrace houses, are great for a cohesive street presence and a whole of individuality. Visiting London or walking through inner city suburbs, what I enjoy most is the consistent architecture of terrace houses, they all look the same in structure. Where they differ is their materials, their interiors and their character. There might be a modernist living next to a classic violist living next to a young family that loves Scandinavian style. All of these characters are expressed in the materiality of the row.
For this family in Belgium, it was all about transforming a row house into a light filled, family focused home. Bringing i.s.m.architecten on board, they renovated the existing home to take it back to its’ original state, and then added a new ground floor addition containing a realistic sized kitchen and living.
This contrast of the old meets new is very playful; mixing ornate detailing with crisp minimalism. The new celebrates clean and strong lines and unadorned materials of wood, steel and concrete. Form follows function and all material choices have functionality at the forefront. It becomes a careful celebration of the old while moving forward and not loosing out on the owners preferred style.
Two main design ideas explored in the project are light and spatiality. Everyone knows row houses are small and natural light is more of a luxury for some rooms. These elements have been captured well by the extension which is angled in shape to allow for a generous patio and skylights. The shape of the extension help to inform a more practical interior layout and strongly connects the interior and exterior.
Row houses have character and house characters.