We’re not shy to admit our excitement over the work of Hans Verstuyft Architecten. So you can only imagine our enthusiasm to peep inside the Britselei Penthouse, a timeless live-work space designed by Hans Verstuyft for himself. The sixties Antwerp office building is now an urban villa, topping off commercial space with a two-layer penthouse and rooftop pool. Here, the design luminary can revel in his masterful work and head downstairs to work on some more.
Hans Verstuyft Architecten are all about reducing. Conceptual yet traditional in approach, the Belgium firm is the last to follow trends. Instead, they are all about crafting a building’s ‘soul’ as a place for occupants to feel invited and inspired. What shines through is their intuition to a way of life, not a rational solution to a brief. And who could be more attuned to their own life rhythms than the occupant themselves?
With one glance, you can see Hans Verstuyft enjoys a generous sense of space. The architect hasn’t held back on opening up the three-storeys, modelled around an open-air courtyard and enclosed by full-height glass windows. It’s a natural light lover’s marvel, with a 35-year-old tree centring the courtyard. The leafy green is a constant presence that informs the penthouse layout. The living, wet rooms and bedrooms are all connected by the garden that also provides a sense of privacy. After all, it was important that Hans Verstuyft felt that he wasn’t spending every waking moment in his architectural studio, organised underneath his private residence. We wouldn’t mind ending the day at the airy work station to head upstairs – especially at the mention of a skyline pool. Taking a dip after a long day in the office never looked so good.
It was imperative the interiors reflected a clear distinction between home and work. Minimalist in all respects, Verstuyft has privileged sandstone bench tops and shelving, lime-washed walls, and limestone floors. These finishes accentuate the sculptural detail of the building and the scale of the windows and openings. For an extra Hans Verstuyft touch, the home has been fitted with lighting designed by the architect. Together with bronze-anodised aluminium window frames and brass fixtures, the home is completely void of an office atmosphere. It couldn’t get more homey than an open fire place in the library and kitchen, adding to the warmth and comfort felt throughout. It’s subjectivity Hans Verstuyft strives for, and he has perfected in his own home. Without the expansive views, you would hardly know this austere penthouse was in the middle of the city.
For the home of architect Hans Verstuyft, you couldn’t expect any less than a Belgian masterpiece. It’s architecture thats made to last and ready to nurture the firm’s innovative forces well into the future. One thing is for sure – there’s no excuse to be late to work!
The traditional materials are used as new, providing a strong sense of belonging to the 1966 age of the Penthouse.