Designing a contemporary architectural object in the landscape

The house on a large, wooded lot in the Flanders region of Belgium designded by SAOTA. An opportunity to design a distinctive contemporary architectural object in the landscape that would simultaneously serve as a warm, outward looking living environment and engage meaningfully with its surroundings.

The principal components of the master plan include a main house above a basement parking garage and a separate pool pavilion with a home office. The house and pavilion are linked via landscaped courtyards, a structured system of koi ponds and a swimming pool. The exterior design is composed of solid cubes and interconnecting glazed voids, which are unified with a slender canopy that wraps around three sides to form outdoor terraces. Clustered vertical columns double as sculptural screens. The facade design is an expression of the interior layout. The client’s preference for traditional, defined rooms rather than an open-plan arrangement led to cellular interior spaces that open outwards onto the terraces and inwards towards a double-volume central atrium with skylights.

The house responds to the local climate by fostering an indoor-outdoor lifestyle in summer, and an introverted, cosy environment centring on the atrium in winter. The way in which the cellular character of the rooms fragments or erodes as they open to the terraces and atrium makes for fluid transitions and invites glimpses of the garden deep into the interiors.

The exterior façades feature a restrained palette of materials - slabs of Giallo D’Istria marble cladding on the walls, sandstone floors, and paneled Alucabond aluminium sheets along the fireplace broken up by large glass panels. The contrast between the precision of the architectural detailing and the organic textures of the materials amplifies their inherent beauty. The simplicity and formal clarity of this home’s design, both as an architectural object and as a tranquil living environment, aims to facilitate an authentic, connected relationship with its natural setting.


SAOTA, a leading firm of architects, is driven by the dynamic combination of Stefan Antoni, Philip Olmesdahl, Greg Truen, Phillippe Fouché, Mark Bullivant, Roxanne Kaye, Logen Gordon, Dani Reimers and Dominik George who share a potent vision easily distinguished in their practices. This, paired with both an innovative and dedicated approach to the design, documentation and execution of projects globally, has seen SAOTA become an internationally sought-after brand. SAOTA has a global footprint with projects on six continents. We have a clear understanding of the place of design in the world and how to deliver architectural projects in diverse markets.