In 2010 Belgian architectural firm Atelier Vens Vanbelle was commissioned to design a quaint notary’s office on a small village street in Horebeke. Years later, principals Dries Vens and Maarten Vanbelle, returned to the site to design the company’s extension after their business grew beyond the existing space.
The original structure complements its farmland context with a warm brick facade. The uniformity of the exterior is broken up with large steel framed windows throughout, allowing unobstructed views of the lush rural surroundings.
The team was responsible for assisting the business in accommodating an additional office, reception and meeting areas into the renovation. The site had some minimally used square footage to build upon using their parking area for the building plans.
The architects chose a reflective cladding material for the extension, which has the unique ability to blend into the original while also standing out. In an article with Dezeen the architects describe, “It was extremely difficult to build an extension to our original design. It felt like the original was complete and we didn’t want to change it, so we decided to build a new volume next to the original building.”
The contemporary use of reflective aluminum allowed the original design to remain showcased while further exposing the site’s pastoral surroundings, as Dezeen describes them. The architects explain that the reflective material added both fluidity and preservation of the original brick building.
“The contrast between the buildings makes it feel like they are two separate designs on one plot, each with its own characteristics and without bothering each other,” the architects further describe.
As bird deaths are often a primary concern with mirrored cladding, the architects were adamant that no incidents had occurred, only the occasional avian self-obsession when they see their own reflection.