Form follows freedom in Villa MQ

The split levels are connected by a centrally located circulation space.

TREMELO – ‘The residents wanted just one thing and that was “something special”,’ recalls architect Magalie Munters of Office O. On a large plot with tall pine trees in the Belgian village of Tremelo, the Flemish architects built a villa for a couple with two children. ‘The design had to be suitable for a family and meet Belgium’s strict building regulations. Starting from that information, we began to sculpt, as it were.’

Villa MQ, named after the client, is located just outside the village centre. 'The dwelling is located on a very quiet street that isn’t particularly interesting. We therefore oriented the design towards the large garden and kept the façade along the street closed,’ explains Munters. The design consists of two halves that contain living spaces with large windows opening onto the garden. The split levels are connected by a centrally located circulation space. ‘This “waist” creates a dramatic effect,’ says Munters. ‘The space narrows here and in addition, the ceiling – which has different heights in different parts of the house – is drastically lower as well.’

Besides Magalie Munters, Office O also consists of architect Hugo Crombez and engineer Joost Clymans. Even when they were students, the three worked together on projects characterized by organic forms. ‘The freedom that this client gave us allowed us to go back to examples from the past,’ says Munters. ‘We design and play with fundamental architectural principles such as form and space. Here the curved walls and different ceiling heights take away all references. The dwelling is like an artificial landscape. Local residents thought we were building a cultural centre.’

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