OYO's House Pibo features a sloping green roof and split-level interior

| 6 comments

An angular entrance and roof intersect the plant-covered roof of this wedge-shaped house, completed by architects office OYO in the Belgian village of Maldegem (+ slideshow).

House PIBO by Oyo Architects in Maldegem, Belgium

Ghent-based OYO – whose previous projects include a monolithic concrete house extension – was given an open brief for this new property, so decided to focus on creating an "ecological and compact building".

This resulted in a building with a sloping green roof, forming a hillside that invites people to climb up onto it.

House PIBO by Oyo Architects in Maldegem, Belgium

Named House Pibo, the building is designed with an upside-down layout. Bedrooms are on the lower floor, set slightly below the level of the adjacent road, while split-level floors above contain living areas that make the most of available light and views.

House PIBO by Oyo Architects in Maldegem, Belgium

"Unlike most single family houses in Belgium, [we] started with the idea of positioning the living rooms on top of the bedrooms," said the architects in a project description.

"In a house composed of split-levels it was important to establish cross relations between the spaces and natural lighting conditions throughout."

House PIBO by Oyo Architects in Maldegem, Belgium

The building's sloping roof is intended as a continuation of the soil around it, and is planted with several species of flowering plants that change its appearance throughout the year.

By contrast, the facades are sheathed in a rubber membrane that waterproofs the interior. This material also takes on a different tone, depending on the weather conditions.

House PIBO by Oyo Architects in Maldegem, Belgium

One of the two angled protrusions that interrupt the slanted green surface extends to the ground and marks the building's entrance. Its wood-lined inner surfaces create an inviting passage, with a view of the sky framed by a window above the door.



The entrance opens directly into a living area, from which stairs ascend a half-level to the dining and kitchen area, or descend a half-level to the bedrooms.

House PIBO by Oyo Architects in Maldegem, Belgium

The window that projects from the roof allows daylight to flood into the dining area. It creates a suitable ceiling height above this space, while also minimising views into the building from the street.

House PIBO by Oyo Architects in Maldegem, Belgium

The bedrooms on the lower floor are kept cool in summer by the surrounding earth. They receive natural light from windows at the same level as the ground outside.

Gaps between the floors and glass balustrades around the edges of the upper level ensure there is a constant visual connection between the rooms on each level.

House PIBO by Oyo Architects in Maldegem, Belgium

Wood used throughout the interior spaces is complemented by other natural materials including the stone that clads the fireplace.

House PIBO by Oyo Architects in Maldegem, Belgium

"The use of wood and warm materials was an inspired decision to create a Scandinavian-like interior ambiance," the architects added.

"The balance of light and material use like stone, wood and white surfaces are the defining elements that bring everything together."

House PIBO by Oyo Architects in Maldegem, Belgium

The fireplace can be used as a barbecue in the summer months and is accessible from a terrace connected to the living room and kitchen by sliding doors.

The terrace houses a dining area and small swimming pond that casts reflections of sunlight onto the ceilings inside the house.

OYO is short for Open Y Office. The studio is led by architects Eddy Soete, Nigel Jooren, Veroniek Vanhaecke and Lies Willaert.

Photography is by Thomas De Bruyne.


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Project credits:

Architects: OYO Architects
Structural engineer: Jan Versieck

Site plan of house PIBO by Oyo Architects in Maldegem, Belgium
Site plan – click for larger image
Ground floor plan of house PIBO by Oyo Architects in Maldegem, Belgium
Ground floor plan – click for larger image
First floor plan of house PIBO by Oyo Architects in Maldegem, Belgium
First floor plan – click for larger image
Section 1 of house PIBO by Oyo Architects in Maldegem, Belgium
Cross section one – click for larger image
Section 2 of house PIBO by Oyo Architects in Maldegem, Belgium
Cross section two – click for larger image
Long section 1 of house PIBO by Oyo Architects in Maldegem, Belgium
Long section one – click for larger image
Long section 3 of house PIBO by Oyo Architects in Maldegem, Belgium
Long section two – click for larger image
Long section 2 of house PIBO by Oyo Architects in Maldegem, Belgium
Long section three – click for larger image
  • NØRD

    Nice house. Not quite sure how it fits with the context and do the clients actually want people to go onto their roof? I think it would fit better into a more rural context. Quite a lot of similarities formally to this fantastic Norway house: http://www.dezeen.com/2011/11/23/mountain-hill-cabin-by-fantastic-norway/

    • Berend Dekker

      It’s built in Belgium, nothing fits in with the context there…

  • Leo

    I am not sure about the rubber, but otherwise I love this house. They created beautiful volumes inside. I agree that the owners might not be keen on people on their roof, though.

  • Mr. X

    A clean design. If the roof was concrete, I’d worry about skateboarders. As it stands, the roof attracts birds during the spring and a “bunny slope” during winter.

  • Jess Thinkin

    I was going to ask if ‘context’ is no longer considered an essential element to architectural design, but a couple of the previous posters have alluded to the subject sufficiently well, so I won’t mention ‘CONTEXT’ again!

    However, the residents should be reported and cited for their extreme insensitivity – allowing an unsuspecting public direct visual access to that yellow sofa!

  • Nice result.