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House in the hill: Belgium’s House Pibo is a minimalist’s dream home

If you happen to find yourself walking through the Maldegem municipality in Belgium anytime soon, you may entirely miss one of the district’s most unique architectural accomplishments. Known simply as House Pibo, this discreet and private residential home is the definition of minimalistic, which is exactly what the builders were hoping to accomplish. Everything down to the exact positioning of each bedroom was done with a clear desire in mind and after perusing the available photos, we wouldn’t blame you one bit for boning up on your Dutch.

Designed by the Belgium-based architectural firm Oyo, House Pibo succeeds at doing a lot with very little. First, much of the home’s actual roof was designed to act as an extension of its front lawn. Because of this, the house almost appears as though it’s built into the side of a grassy knoll as opposed to being wholly man-made. To give the grass roof an especially festive annual appearance, the home’s landscapers even planted a variety of different flower species which change color depending on the time of year. The only two areas built into this roof is a narrow entrance and a large window peeking into the home’s dining room.

House Pibo's fireplace doubles as an outdoor barbecue
House Pibo’s fireplace doubles as an outdoor barbecue

“Two popping volumes create an exception on the green surface,” says Oyo architect Eddy Soete. “One defines the entrance, the other brings light into the dining room.”

Though this means the front of the home boasts just one window, the architects skillfully plotted out the home’s interior to maximize light and to foster a sense of spaciousness. To do this, Oyo decided to go with a split-level design for its upstairs quarters. So instead of having one open room, the dining room is sectioned off and slightly higher than an area one might use as a den. Additionally, both bedrooms are placed downstairs to assist in keeping them colder during warmer months. If you’d believe it, the soil used on the roof also helps the bedrooms keep cool during the summer.

“Unlike most single family houses in Belgium, [we] started with the idea of positioning the living rooms on top of bedrooms,” reads the architect’s description of the home. “In a house composed of split-levels, it was important to establish cross relations between the spaces and natural lighting conditions throughout.”

House Pibo's split level room design
House Pibo’s split level room design

Perhaps the home’s most impressive feature is its homey stone fireplace that not only keeps the interior warm but functions as a working barbecue that’s accessible via a backyard patio that connects to the kitchen. Furthermore, Oyo decked out the interior with gorgeous wood flooring and cabinetry that are accented by clean, white appliances throughout. Not only does this give off a fresh appearance but it fits perfectly into the architect’s desired minimalistic vision.

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