amid the trees of a private garden in uitbergen, belgium, sits the introspective ‘alex guesthouse’ by atelier vens vanbelle. designed for a client in the film industry, the guesthouse was commissioned to provide their international guests with an unforgettable stay in a cabin-like space.
all images © tim van de velde
built into a slightly-raised hill, the guesthouse comprises a ground floor level, basement, and watchtower. the main entrance to the building is located on the raised ground floor, where guests are met by a timber-lined living and bedroom space. punctured by two large circular windows, these rooms offer a cozy atmosphere from which to enjoy views of the client’s beautiful garden and the neighboring castle.
a second, and more dramatic entrance has also been integrated into the scheme by atelier vens vanbelle to create an ‘almost cinematic experience.‘ from the main house, guests can enter through the living room towards the garden shed. from here they enter the bicycle parking, where there is a staircase to a dark underground corridor (the basement). at the end of this disorientating corridor is a spiral staircase that connects to the outside space. the outdoor elements are therefore drawn into the underground level, adding a little drama to the experience.
within the basement level a bar and cinema provides the perfect place to entertain guests, while climbing the spiral staircase all the way to the top leads to a watchtower with a view of the schelde river valley. the guesthouse was designed as one large piece of furniture and constructed from different layers of LVL wood, giving it a sculptural appearance. the structure was pre-fabricated in a studio and assembled on site. cladding the timber construction is profiled corten steel, which helps embed the new intervention into its surroundings, almost as if it’s been there for years.
project name: alex guesthouse
location: uitbergen, berlare, belgium
design: atelier vens vanbelle
photography: tim van de velde