Layer by Layer: Alex Guesthouse by Atelier Vens Vanbelle
Architect: Atelier Vens Vanbelle
Location: Scheldestraat 14, 9290 Berlare (BE)
The Alex Guesthouse is located in Uitbergen, an idyllic setting between Ghent and Brussels. It complements the existing home of the client, who is also called Alex and works in the film industry. In designing the projects, the Belgian planners were inspired by cinematic elements. The new building comprises one hidden and one visible part. The latter stands out thanks to its unusual shape, which at first glance resembles a submarine. It consists of a rounded base topped by a lighthouse-like volume. The roof finishes with a spectacular outdoor shower that enables guests to wash among the treetops, surrounded by nature. All views of this structure are clad in vertically ribbed Corten steel whose natural colour lets the house fit seamlessly into the landscape.
Guests enter the new house via the shed for bikes and garden tools. They first move down into a hidden subterranean passageway that leads to the event room, which has a bar. This area is intended for film premieres. From the event room, a spiral stairway ascends to the above-ground tract of the guest house, which is so much more than a conventional hotel room.
Visitors are received here with a warm, organic design. The structure is built of 4-cm wooden layers in seamless stacks. The wood forms not only the exterior walls, but also the interior fittings, shelves and furnishings such as the bed. The unclad layering creates soft curves and cosy, cave-like living, sleeping and lounging rooms that invite guests to relax and provide a unique atmosphere. Round windows offer views of the garden and the surrounding environment, let in ample light and perfectly top off an unforgettable stay.