51N4E studio completed the 'Room for the City' - the new extension to the existing family house in Leuven, Belgium.
The client, a contemporary family of five, lives in an archetypical terraced house on a dense plot in the historic centre of Leuven. After acquiring a neighbouring plot, the home could suddenly transform into a collection of connected spaces with very diverse characters, clustered around a very big, high and bright space that becomes the centre of the project.
A small adjoining brick shed is reached through a secret staircase. The room on the street side doubles as a vestibule, a reception space plus storage room. The garden becomes an open-air room with green walls and an oversized water element. The central room is defined by a careful collision of building elements: a terrazzo floor slab, a thin concrete staircase, a green clay covered wall, a large sliding window and a floating glass and stretched metal roof.
These elements create a spatial equilibrium leaving a large part of what surrounds them visible and intact, creating the possibility to connect to the other rooms, or not. Defined not by function but by atmosphere, this collection of rooms becomes an ambivalent living environment, that feels continuous with other public and private rooms that compose the city fabric.