Transformation and requalification of a building from the sixties into an optical counter and apartments: Valuation of the heritage, mixity, integration.
Private – Development of an optical and acoustic counter with the creation of an additional volume on the first floor, development of housing with new outdoor spaces on the floors and landscaping of the entire site.
Architects : Atelier h Architecture
Interior architects: Atelier h Architecture in collaboration with Two Designers Studio
Floor area: 500m2
Photo credit: Maxime Vermeulen
The existing building has a particular aesthetic typical of the sixties: concrete frame, horizontal dynamics of the flat roof overhangs, large bays with low spandrels and set back from the road. The patina of time seemed to have deprived it of interest and the owner was unaware of its architectural value. The challenge of the project was to reveal its intrinsic potential while adapting it to its new function, a counter for an eyewear manufacturer. This change of look on the existing, optimistic and committed, was the starting point of the reflection.
The fences delimiting the garden of the villa were dismantled, transforming the status of private garden into a common space of transition between the public domain and the domestic spaces. The visitor becomes a guest. He is invited into the private space.
To increase the visibility of the business while maintaining the dynamics of the facades, the spandrels of the first floor bays have been removed. A new canopy, independent of the original facade, emphasizes the horizontality of the whole and marks the functional limit with the housing on the floors. An extension increases the visibility and transparency of the commercial first floor while creating the base of the terraces on the upper floors.
The independent access to the dwellings is done naturally through a planted area.
Inside the store, a huge reception counter forms the entrance and conceals an optical laboratory. Solid wood workbenches highlight the craftsmanship. The use of raw, authentic and removable materials contributes to the identity of the built and landscaped ensemble.
The atmosphere of the new layout breaks the sometimes overly medical codes of optics and opens towards a more open and authentic space where the visitor becomes an actor of the space.
The project illustrates how fine, targeted and surgical interventions can change the way we look at our existing heritage.