The client is a long-time friend with whom we have been working since years. He asked us to imagine an extension, adjacent to his office located in a house from the late 1930’s, in the green suburbs of Brussels. The existing house, surrounded by a beautiful garden, would not allow for endless possibilities due to the size of the plot and the strict urban regulations.
We chose to create a narrow construction to fill the void between the existing house and the neighbors. Although the option might seem odd—the space would now occupy a narrow gap—
this allowed us to benefit from the best orientation and views towards the garden without loosing a much needed surface.
The architecture is radically different than the existing adjacent building, yet respectful of the context. The new volume consists of a minimal, elegant black steel and glass construction. Reminiscent of modernist glass pavilion structures, the open plan on the ground floor is enriched by the continuity of the aged blue stone floors inside and outside.
The Belgian architect Nicolas Schuybroek began his career in Montreal, Canada, working for INTEGRAL Jean Beaudoin. He then returned to Belgium and joined the office of Vincent Van Duysen in Antwerp as project director, handling high-end architecture projects in Belgium and beyond.
In 2011, Nicolas Schuybroek started his own practice based in Brussels, Belgium, with a well defined purpose: create and produce architecture, interiors and objects characterized by an acute sense of detail, craftsmanship and intuition, while retaining a feeling of warmth. The search for timeless minimalism and apparent simplicity are central in his work, as well as the love of unassuming, tactile and raw materials. There’s no straining for effect in his work—just a muted elegance.
The essence of his work is to conceive serene and pure, yet extremely warm and authentic spaces. While his architecture is often described as monastic and minimalistic, it is surprisingly sophisticated and it always has a soul.
His works explore a sharp vision of space and materials. Most people recognize Nicolas’ hand through his rigorous and contextual approach: embracing the essence of built forms, from the roughest construction to the smallest interior details.
Nicolas Schuybroek was listed in the top 100 designers by AD France in 2013, 2016 and 2017.
As his practice develops, his projects are as diverse in geography and type as in scale. They range from renovations, new-builts and interior design of residential projects, offices, hotels, retail spaces to the design of objects. Examples of his projects include houses on the Cote d’Azur (France), Mexico City, the Robey hotel for Grupo Habita in Chicago (USA) and Tribu’s new offices and showroom in Belgium. They have demonstrated a considered approach to understanding each individual need, both in terms of exterior and interior architecture and design. In 2016, Nicolas Schuybroek developed a first series of objects for the Belgian brand when objects work presented at the Milan Furniture Fair.
Currently, Nicolas Schuybroek is working on large-scale new-built houses and residential projects in Brussels, Antwerp, New-York and Paris.
Nicolas Schuybroek was born in 1981 and raised in Brussels. Having been educated in English, French and Dutch-speaking schools, he is perfectly tri-lingual and is used to working in those three languages. His multicultural background and extensive travel nourish his work with a broad and international perspective.
Nicolas Schuybroek architects sprl
95, Rue Victor Greyson
This new penthouse was realized on the roof of an existing apartment building overlooking the 3 towers of Ghent. JUMA positioned the window sections precisely so as to frame the view onto the towers, and bring them fully to the fore.
Because of its excellent orientation, the immense terrace not only lets one enjoy the striking Ghent skyline, but also allows maximum sunlight entry. Particularly challenging elements in this project were the chimneys and technical shafts that had to be incorporated. Take, for example, the shaft that runs through the kitchen island, that has however been elegantly concealed by covering it with a gray mirror.
The bedroom and bathroom are conceived as one large suite, a layout that creates a highly spatial feeling. Finally, to minimize the weight of the rooftop penthouse, a wood frame construction was opted for.
This new penthouse was bought on plan from a project developer. The client came to JUMA for the entire redesign of the proposed interior. The complete new layout also had implications for the outside facades. As such, JUMA also determined part of the outside architecture.
The new layout was to accommodate three bedrooms instead of the existing two, using the same floor surface and without changing the interior program or sacrificing the sense of spaciousness. JUMA set out in search of the most logical layout and came up with a design defined by circulation lines that maximize the available floor space. A central block was placed between the sitting area and the kitchen with dining room, fitted with an incorporated gas fireplace on the side of the living room and the kitchen recess on the other.
Placed in between these two elements is a storage area for the kitchen. Along the central block, the volume of the storage space is continued to accommodate a desk. The low cabinet in the seating area houses the TV and gently leads to the hallway.
An additional request concerned the elevator, which the client(s) wanted to open directly into the penthouse and not into a common hall. When the elevator doors open, one is immediately immersed in a homely atmosphere which is in part determined by the warmth of the dark parquet in Hungarian point. The double glazed door between the entrance and living room is fireproof to meet safety requirements. It also brings natural light deep into the space, and ensures, in this way, that one need not enter through a dark entry space. The fixed furniture is finished in a light larch veneer which contrasts nicely with the dark, distinctive floor.
Restaurant Rechtvaardige Rechters on the Saint Bavo Square in Ghent needed a thorough makeover. The original arrangement of the tables was disorderly and the chairs looked rather ungainly. The colour palette was wrong, the lighting was inadequate and the checkout counter, which mainly consisted of open cabinets, left a sloppy impression. Urgent time for a couple of much needed interventions.
JUMA first wanted to add some structure by introducing a long, custom-designed, leather bench along which all the tables could be arranged. The bench was finished in a warm cognac colour and exudes a pleasant and inviting feel. The wooden tabletops provide a natural accent that contrasts with the refined design of the typically black Thonet chairs.
To emphasize the youthful character of the place, graphic designer Valentine De Cort was commissioned to make a large, playful wall drawing of the life surrounding the ever-impressive Saint Bavo Cathedral.
Customers will indeed be able to recognize many prominent figures in the drawing! Hiding amidst all those characters, for example, is the thief of the missing panel of the Ghent Altarpiece from which the restaurant takes its name.
JUMA’s lighting design combined a variety of different types of light fixtures that together create a cosy feel. Especially the big brass spherical hanging lamps attract attention while the sleek white ceiling fixtures with their movable spotlights remain discreet.
A number of walls were covered in a soft, shiny fabric that is also used in the new transition area that leads to the toilets. The checkout counter was renewed and shelves were designed onto which wine bottles can be displayed. The walls here were painted black, while the ceilings were given a white colour.
The icing on the cake is the stone cladding of the existing bar. The veined, polished stone gives the restaurant the allure it deserves.
mathieu luyens & julie van de keere
JUMA Architects is a Gent based architecture firm founded by Mathieu Luyens & Julie van De Keere in 2009 with a focus on creating well-crafted and custom made structures. Our aesthetics are modern and minimal with careful usage of light, space, emotion and the unique characteristics of each location. It is our misson to efficiently deliver a project from the first planning stages through to the fine detailing of materials and furniture design. Our specific approach allows us to be passionate designers and functional builders while efficiently creating a cost effective and personal structure for our clients.
A dilapidated old town house was thoroughly rebuilt and renovated by JUMA architects with due respect for the past.
The proximity of the water adds to the serene atmosphere that permeates the streetscape.
This feeling is brought inside through the refined and well-balanced design JUMA realized for this special project.
Although the house is located in the city centre, it welcomes one with an immediate feeling of tranquillity. The design is sophisticated and pure and conveys a sense of understated luxury through its detailing and use of beautiful materials.
The façade was fully restored to its former glory through an elaborate process of sandblasting and liming. The wooden windows were renovated according to the original model and fitted with soundproof glass.
The entrance door is original and was painted in high-gloss black, as were the garage door and dormers, forming a stark contrast with the light-coloured façade.
Entering the house is pure enjoyment as one’s gaze is immediately drawn to the rear patio overlooking the swimming pond. The patio has a covered terrace with an integrated fireplace and sauna. This cosy outdoor area is used intensively throughout the whole year.
The interior is furnished with many custom-made furniture pieces that create a quiet overall effect.
The subtle colour palette was applied throughout the house and brings unity.
JUMA architects also selected the loose pieces of furniture and often opted for round, soft shapes to create a cosy and inviting whole.
All wiring and plumbing were replaced, providing this house with every modern comfort. A home automation system was installed and the heating system was concealed where possible through a clever use of convectors or underfloor heating.
In those areas where the concealing of heating devices proved impossible, elegant, cast iron radiators with brass fittings were installed. These fit perfectly with the aged feel of the townhouse.
Finally, there is the wonderful aged parquet with wide boards that gives this project maximum allure. The details make the difference.
mathieu luyens & julie van de keere
JUMA Architects is a Gent based architecture firm founded by Mathieu Luyens & Julie van De Keere in 2009 with a focus on creating well-crafted and custom made structures.