bassam el okeily: narrow house
nov 02, 2010
bassam el okeily: narrow house

‘narrow house’ by bassam el okeily and karla menten in bilzen, belgium
all images courtesy bassam el okeily
photographer: tim van de velde

‘narrow house’ by brussels-based architect bassam el-okeily is a three-storey building
in bilzen, a small city near the eastern border of belgium. the project, which is a
collaborative design with architect karla menten, features a dynamic and expressive
street facade: a glass-encased layer of space that could be defined as an thin atrium,
with two jutting look-out balconies that are skewed in angles and directions.
lit up in a multitude of colours, the face of the ‘narrow house’ acts as a public light
sculpture by night.

street facade

sitting on a lot that is just 5.3 meters wide, the dwelling which was built for a couple
accommodates a garage and entrance on the ground floor. the second and third level
above are completely enclosed in glazing, exposing a white facade with a set of balconies.
the lower balcony connects to the the client’s library and reading nook, offering him
natural light as well as a sheltered view of the street. the upper platform, which seems
to be turned slightly to face the other,  juts off the third-level studio, where the woman
of the house works as an artist.

(left) building face illuminated in blue light
(upper right) building face illuminated in yellow light
(lower right) view from the interior

one of the lookouts seen from below

because one of the two exposed facades of the house is made mostly solid by
the balcony set-up, the rest of the interior draws on clever slicing away of
ceiling mass and walls to sufficiently light up the space. the main living space
on the ground level is set back further into the lot and features a carved out atrium
that allows natural light to wash down the walls from above. small geometric
windows and clerestories allow rooms that are not directly linked to the facade
to still be bright and well-lit.

jagged ceiling and window strip

(left) ceiling form of dining and lounge
(right) look-out facing the street side

main living space

studio on the third level
upper floor balcony to the left

(left) looking down from the balcony
(right) studio

looking out into the back yard

dining and lounge

views of the backyard outdoor space

at night from the backyard

floor plan / level 0
(1) garage
(2) kitchen

(3) lounge and dining
(4) patio and backyard
(5) wc
(6) cloakroom

floor plan / level 1
(7) hallway
(8) library
(9) bathroom
(10) bedroom

floor plan / level 2
(11) studio


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