Dezeen Magazine

The patio and swimming pond of the Refuge with curved roof overhead

NWLND Rogiers Vandeputte contrasts red concrete pool house with green landscape

Architecture studio NWLND Rogiers Vandeputte has built a pool house from red concrete within the wooded garden of a home in Flanders, Belgium.

Named the Refuge, the project is a walled pavilion containing a square building and swimming pond – a swimming pool with a natural filtration system.

Exterior of the Refuge by NWLND Rogiers Vandeputte but red concrete pavilion walls and overflow pond
Solid red concrete pavilion walls contain the swimming pond and pool house

"Instead of designing a swimming pond alongside the garden pavilion, we designed a garden pavilion which integrated the swimming pond within its perimeter – a refuge," said Bert Rogiers and Pieter Vandeputte, founding architects of  NWLND Rogiers Vandeputte.

"The result is an extraordinary set of spaces that are sound in concept and in detailing, a series of rigid and curved lines that generate a playful intimacy."

Exterior of the Refuge looking towards the pool house through an opening in the pavilion walls
The Refuge has a curved concrete roof that spans across the length of the pavilion

The architects used red concrete both to contrast with the green landscaping and to reference the nearby brick house.

To create a dialogue between the house and the Refuge, bricks left over from the construction of the house were reused as border walls for the patio and overflow filter pond.

Interior of the Refuge pool house with red stained plywood cladding and large sliding glass door leading to the patio
Red-stained plywood panelling insulates the interior of the pool house

The interior of the pool house, which is also red, is lined with plywood formwork panels that were soaked in pigment from the concrete during the setting process.

"Instead of discarding these plywood panels after demoulding, the nails were taken out and the panels were gently cleaned," the architects told Dezeen.

"They are then used as a finish for the insulated inner shell of the pavilion."

Rogiers and Vandeputte enclosed the swimming pond, pool house, and underground studio space within the solid concrete walls of the pavilion.

According to the architects, building the entire project in concrete meant the swimming pond did not have to be lined.

Cutouts in the solid concrete walls were located to frame views of the landscape. The concrete roof of the pool house extends over an outside patio and curves around the pavilion.

View of the Refuge swimming pond through a cut out in the pavillion wall
The red colour of the concrete was informed by the bricks used in the existing house

"We always look for the dematerialisation of a project, especially by limiting the different materials used. Concrete is a very good material for this," said the architects.

"Concrete can be transformed into any shape, especially if the contractor is specialised in this and collaborates with us to find innovative solutions."

The Refuge swimming pond with curved concrete roof and cut outs in pavilion walls revealing the green landscape
Cutouts in the solid concrete walls of the pavilion create framed views of the surrounding landscape

The curved cutout in the pool house roof joins with the perimeter of an enclosed garden in the landscaping to form a complete circle.

"The circle is used as a visual language for the abstracted version of a clearing in the forest," said the architects. "Every frame that arises throughout the space engages in a dialogue with the existing house and nature."

Garden path leading to the entrance of the Refuge pool house with large red concrete walls and pond
Bricks from the existing house were reused in the Refuge to border the overflow filter pond

NWLND Rogiers Vandeputte is an architecture studio founded by Pieter Vandeputte and Bert Rogiers in 2017.

Other projects using coloured concreted on Dezeen include a pink concrete holiday home in East Sussex by RX Architects, a peach-coloured pavilion that overlooks a peach tree field in Henan Province, China, and a red concrete golf clubhouse in the Algarve, Portugal, designed by RCR Arquitectes.

The photography is by Johnny Umans.

Project credits:

Architect: NWLND Rogiers Vandeputte
Structural engineer: Util
Landscape: Jeroen Provoost
Concrete contractor: Patrick Janssens Festoo, Festoo Constructs
Windows: Allaert Aluminium
Interior: ILB

More images and plans

Site plan of the Refuge by NWLND Rogiers Vandeputte
Ground floor plan of the Refuge by NWLND Rogiers Vandeputte
Basement plan of the Refuge by NWLND Rogiers Vandeputte
Roof plan of the Refuge by NWLND Rogiers Vandeputte
Section of the Refuge by NWLND Rogiers Vandeputte
Section of the Refuge by NWLND Rogiers Vandeputte
Section of the Refuge by NWLND Rogiers Vandeputte
Exterior of the Refuge by NWLND Rogiers Vandeputte
Interior of the basement of the pool house by NWLND Rogiers Vandeputte