The Flemish town of Outgaarden is synonymous with the wide spread development of rural infrastructures. Traditional farms are gradually and irreversibly appropriated by wealthy newcomers, transforming the agricultural facilities into courtyard villas, surrounded by authenticated space.
At first, the clients wanted an outdoor swimming pool. A year later, an additional bathhouse and new garden layout were required. And their final commission (so far) called for a new kitchen.
The pool, initially envisioned in the backyard by the clients, is located in the middle of the courtyard, where the dunghill used to be. This coincided with the clients’ ambivalent wish that the ‘pool’ be a swimming pool as well as a restful water feature. The pool’s construction takes the standard ‘swimming pool package deal’ as a starting point. The standard product is upgraded via three operations: the pool is lifted out of its construction pit so that it becomes more of a furniture element; on one side a concrete cantilever is added as a stepping stone/bench, and finally black PVC is used to line the inside. The black colour intensifies the reflection of light and makes the water seem deep and dense. The cantilever is clad in tactile rubber. The specific location of the pool creates a confrontation between the farmhouse’s public realm and the naked privacy of swimming.
The kitchen, originally located at the heart of the house, is moved to the periphery of the farm. Due to the fact that the total required area was quite extensive, we decided to introduce a forced modal split: 30 percent of the space gets 70 percent of the budget, while 70 percent of the space has to be built using 30 percent of the budget. This allowed for a sudden potential of luxury, a small highly profiled kitchen area combined with a huge storage space. Everything in the design underscores the contrast between both spaces. The ‘all mod cons’ kitchen is inserted into the existing structure like a precious jewel inside its velvet box. The centralized cooker is made out of glacier-white Corian and ‘BMW walnut’ laminate. The floor is covered in Carrara Bianca stone. Between the kitchen and the storage area an exclusive Carrara Bianca sliding wall is inserted. The wall is made of 5mm-thick marble, mounted on a 20mm honeycomb structure and finished with a slick polyester skin. Depending on the angle of light, the wall acts as a translucent window or an opaque partition. The status of the kitchen is variable; the space acts simultaneously as a ‘showroom’, a startling utilitarian space or a challenging multifunctional tool.