Belgian brick bungalow draws on Californian modernism

A new Belgian brick bungalow in the town of Zandhoven is designed by architect Hans Verelst as a nod to the modernist architecture of California

belgian brick bungalow exterior among nature
(Image credit: Nick Cannaerts)

A stone's throw from Antwerp, this Belgian brick bungalow in the small town of Zandhoven, is a majestic, yet peaceful home. Its architect, locally based Hans Verelst, says its low, linear shapes, broken up, friendly volumes and materiality draw on Californian modernist architecture, desert designs and concepts around flat living. It was also the product of several deep conversations with the clients – and the home's residents – about the purpose of domestic design and minimalist architecture

belgian brick bungalow exterior

(Image credit: Nick Cannaerts)

This Belgian brick bungalow celebrates daily life

'The design of this house arose from a critical dialogue with the client, in which the search for the meaning of living stood central. ‘What is the value of a house and what should it represent?’ The ultimate exercise was, besides merely making space for functions, to commemorate living,' writes the architect. 'The house appears as a carrier of life. This carrier, where memories and events are created, is a support for life. With this abstract approach, the programme was reduced to its minimum.'

belgian brick bungalow terrace

(Image credit: Nick Cannaerts)

Verelst's approach is rooted in honesty in material use, an almost brutalist approach to design that affords the home a layered and tactile quality. Brick is used in walls, but also floors, nodding again to modernist architecture. A dark brown, timber pergola wraps around it on the outside, crowning it with the softness of wood. Meanwhile, its colour palette and surface compositions might bring to mind 1970s homes, in Belgium and abroad. 

belgian brick bungalow interior with library

(Image credit: Nick Cannaerts)

The mature garden around the home is another key feature that helps this project become a coherent whole. It gently contrasts with the structured architecture, through swathes of wild flowers and seemingly – and strategically – overgrown grass. It forms a natural backdrop where this Belgian brick bungalow lies nestled, warm and inviting, contemporary but also familiar. 

belgian brick bungalow interior living space

(Image credit: Nick Cannaerts)

belgian brick bungalow interior

(Image credit: Nick Cannaerts)

belgian brick bungalow interior looking out through large windows

(Image credit: Nick Cannaerts) (opens in new tab)

Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture Editor at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018) and Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020).