Bat-a-clan by Collectiv4 Architects

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From Collectiv4 Architects:

Just as in the movies

The scenery Maarten and Ine build for tv and film are fictional. But also in their home, they explore their own talents to create a warm atmosphere. A house built by their own hands.

Maarten is working as a set-designer and stand builder. Ine works as a set dresser, supplying all props characters might need in their role.
They both work separately, though cooperated on set for the production of the Bullhead-film.

At first the couple was looking for a place to start their own studio where Maarten would be able to build his sceneries. “We were looking for old farms for example, unfortunately, to no avail.” So the plan grew to build their own house in a semi-industrial area, where the combination of living and small-scale business is urbanisticly approved. Besides building Maarten’s studio, they built their own low-energy house in timber frame.

Without contractor

Mattias Camps and Kristof Stuyck (Collectiv4 Architects) launched the idea of building their house as a timber frame. With his wide experience and degree in industrial design, Maarten decided to build this house by himself. Moreover he was familiar to working with timber, after being a set builder for a while now. “And I don’t like working with cement anyway” Maarten added.

“We are not keen on clients deciding to do their own construction, but everything went just fine.” compliments Mathias. Collectiv4 took responsibility for the coordination of works, the planning and execution during the construction, just as they are used to do with other projects.
“We agreed that Maarten would not do any other job during the constructing of our house, but meanwhile I was continuing to work hard”, Ine says.

The work on site took him nine months. For the structural works that needed to be done, befriended set designers came to collaborate; Ine and Maarten themselves did the finishing. They only addressed a professional contractor for the windows and the concrete flooring. After only one year, they were able to move into their new home. “It was one of the nicest things I’ve done”, says Maarten, still enjoying while looking back. For practical reasons they choose to have simple volumes, but “Also because we aesthetically liked it”. At the time they started building their house, the studio was already finished, and this was a necessity: “It’s been plenty of times we decided to change details in the design on site”.

The house ended up being a compact and practical house, covered in thermally treated pine. The kitchen, a small office and the dining room are located at the ground floor. The open staircase was located in the middle of the house, to maintain the most efficient use of space. At the first floor the open living space was combined with a surprising ‘house in the house’; the master bedroom. This ‘box’ is covered with cedar shingles on the outside, resulting as a pretty wall towards the living room.

Simplicity and warmth

The black kitchen is centralised in the house as a beating heart. It looks sturdy and stalwart through the use of dark concrete for the kitchen top. The use of mosaics on the facing wall brings more conviviality. Maarten admits: “the kitchen top was an experiment, and did not always work out as planned”. The cabinets underneath the kitchen top came from IKEA. Through adding brightly coloured vintage accessories and some vases they brought home from exotic holidays, the whole results in a very trendy house.

The furnishing and decoration is a result of mixing their personal designs with props and personally collected objects from travels and flee markets.

In the office space for example there is a small cabinet to be found from the set of Sara (Flemish remake of ‘Ugly Betty’).

The big lamp at the entrance is a personal design. Maarten loves rawly finished materials and thinks a piece of furniture should mostly be ‘honest and simple’, that he has in common with Collectiv4 Architects. The big lamp demonstrates his predilection for geometric shapes. Ine on the other hand is fond of vases and tableware. In a dismantled dining cabinet her favourites are exhibited: bits of a fifties tableware collection of Royal Boch, Villery & Boch and little ceramic animals from L&V.

Ine and Maarten are fortuned with their low-energy house. “We are not fanatic on environmental issues, but we are delighted with our choice for a low energy house. Both winter and summer it feels warm & cosy. We hardly have to turn on the heating.”

Architect: Collectiv4 Architects
Residents: www.bat-a-clan.be
Text: Soetkin Bulcke
Photos: © Liesbet Goetschalckx

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