Graux & Baeyens Architecten has divided an old Flemish-style house in Belgium into a psychotherapy centre and apartment, installing a concrete canopy to give each space its own outdoor area (+ slideshow).
Named Omsorg, the project involved a complete renovation of the run-down three-storey house in Ename, while the new concrete platform was installed in the garden to create both a shelter over the existing patio and a new first-floor terrace.
"The property hosts a psychotherapy centre and a dwelling, and both claim a relationship with the garden," explained studio founders Koen Baeyens and Basile Graux, who are based in nearby Ghent.
"This stalemate is lifted by introducing a concrete canopy in the garden," they said.
The introduction of the concrete structure gives each property its own private outdoor area, while also allowing both sets of occupants access to the communal garden beyond.
The platform also served other purposes. Most importantly, it allowed the architects to extend the ground floor out towards the garden, allowing enough room for five consulting rooms inside the clinic. It also frames a parking space.
Most of the weight of the platform is supported by three concrete walls. The positioning of these was planned carefully to ensure that an existing garden wall could be retained.
"We wanted to keep the old wall that divided the garden in two," Graux told Dezeen.
"Keeping the wall allowed us to create the more intimate zone for the practice rooms, while the rest of the garden can be used for other occupations."
The concrete forms were cast against timber, giving them a stripy texture. "The rawness and simplicity of the material is appealing," added Graux.
Inside, the previous layout was discarded in favour of a symmetrical arrangement more akin to this style of house.
"The house was completely dilapidated and had been refurbished many times over the last 100 years," said Graux. "The original structure of the symmetrical floor plan, typical for this kind of house, was completely gone. We had to start from scratch."
"Our approach was to restore this former balance in all plans," Graux added.
For the clinic, this involved arranging a meeting room and the five consulting rooms around a core of staff facilities.
The apartment features a more open-plan layout – six equal-sized rooms with minimal partitions occupy the first floor, while a wooden staircase leads up to the second-floor loft.
Photography is by Denis De Smet.