1960s bungalow renovation cuts cinematic dash in Belgium

House BPB, created by Belgian architect David Bulckaen, is the imaginative reintepretation of a 1960s bungalow into a dark, mysterious, contemporary house inspired by the movie A Single Man

The dark form of house BPB by David Bulckaen, a 1960s bungalow renovation
(Image credit: Koen Van Damme)

Set within the leafy countryside outside Antwerp, House BPB, designed by the Belgian architecture practice of David Bulckaen, cuts a dark, minimalist figure against the soft foliage. The project, a family house, was inspired by the Tom Ford movie A Single Man, explains the architect. Bringing together a clean and low, rectangular volume with a moody, somewhat mysterious cladding of dark insulation panels, the project is a clever 1960s bungalow renovation and extension. 

‘One summer evening, the idea took shape when it turned out that both the client and myself were big fans of the residence featured in the movie – the house built in California by John Lautner. That shared love brought about instant chemistry. I based the design on the principle of the viewfinder of a camera, a reference to the professional activity of one of the residents.’

Black tiber clad house BPB by David Bulckaen against green pond

(Image credit: Koen Van Damme)

Creating the right views and framing the landscape through strategic openings were key in crafting this careful, cinematic experience. ‘[It is] as if you were looking through the lens of your camera,’ says Bulckaen. The structure’s spaces alternate views through rooms and glimpses of courtyards and the woods surrounding the house, consistently reminding the residents of their leafy location. 

This suited the owners perfectly. ‘The owners are very outdoor-minded, and love to throw open windows and doors whenever the weather allows it,’ the architect says. ‘The old house, however, was very closed and introverted, had very few windows, and there was almost no connection to the garden and wider outdoors.’

The ‘summer room’, a living space sitting in the structure’s new addition, becomes a centrepiece for the project. This room provides 180-degree views of the garden and when the windows open and the weather allows, it becomes one with the green landscape. The dark external cladding both insulates and unifies visually old and new, while pleasantly contrasting with the light concrete and white plaster interiors.

House BPB by David Bulckaen is a 1960s bungalow renovation clad in dark timber

(Image credit: Koen Van Damme)

House BPB by David Bulckaen is sat among rich foliage

(Image credit: Koen Van Damme)

Spacious interiors at house BPB by David Bulckaen look out towards nature

(Image credit: Koen Van Damme)

White open plan living spaces at house BPB by David Bulckaen contrast the black exterior

(Image credit: Koen Van Damme)

Black timber and courtyards surround house BPB by David Bulckaen

(Image credit: Koen Van Damme)

Sleek bathroom at house BPB by David Bulckaen

(Image credit: Koen Van Damme)

Warm and bright interior at house BPB by David Bulckaen

(Image credit: Koen Van Damme)

INFORMATION
David Bulckaen Architect (opens in new tab)

Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture Editor at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018) and Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020).