Vandersanden

Building fast and detailed with E-Board

Architects Wim Baekelandt and Sylvie De Baets opted for E-Board for their own home and office: “fast and detailed”. They met while they were studying architecture at university in Ghent and work together in their practice, the Architektenburo. It is clear from their website, architektenburo.be, that they are acolytes of their famous colleague Le Corbusier, who stated that space and light and order are things that men need just as much as they need bread or a place to sleep. Their designs exude that space, light and order. The pinnacle of that is their pièce de résistance: their own home and office in Knokke-Heist with high ceilings, lots of glass and clean lines.

Unusual design

Wim recounts how the half-open building was constructed with E-Board ® in the leading role: “We had to build very quickly in 2014. We used aerated concrete so that we could install the windows quickly and then move in; and that saved us a lot of time. It's easily another two to three months if you have to wait for façade bricks, insulation and pointing. That was when we opted for E-Board®. Construction started in March 2014 and we were already living there by 1 January 2015. Our home wasn’t finished but it was habitable. That’s a really unusual way of building.” The building next door was built later: “The idea was to build it at the same time, but it didn’t work out. It is also constructed in a traditional way but with a façade brick from Vandersanden.”

Sylvie and Wim designed the building together. Sylvie laughs: “We do everything together. A design goes from my office to his office then comes back again until we think ‘that’s how it should be’. It’s easy to design for yourself because you really know how you want to live. If one of the two of you isn't in building, it just raises more questions.”

Simple

Wim and Sylvie opted for E-Board® and it was the first time they had worked with it. “It was also because of the details. It made it easy for us to finish the underside of the ceiling with bricks at the entrance too. Full brickwork isn’t the obvious choice there, but it is possible with E-Board®. Above all, everything has to be insulated nowadays, even in corners and around windows, otherwise you get condensation and thermal bridges. That's what is so good about the system; it makes it relatively simple.”

He also has some good advice for future users: “Remember that there will be scaffolding around the building for a bit longer. That's a bit annoying if you’re already living there. And take care how you finish the corners where two rows of brick need to meet.”

Nice contrast

Afterwards they had the rows of brickwork painted white, Sylvie reveals: “That contrasts nicely with the darker woods we used, such as in the canopy over the patio. That was new in this area. It's being used more often now, but we were one of the first to do so. The combination of white with the darker wood has been copied a number of times. In the white, you can see a relief of the brickwork rows next to wooden battens. That’s much nicer than a wide line completely of brick.” Painting the brickwork rows was a deliberate choice, he explains: “Plaster is too plain, has too little body. There is motion in this hand-moulded brick.” Sylvie: “These are small details, but they give something extra, distinctive. We could have left the brick exposed but we wanted it like this. Timeless yet modern. And we have had lots of positive reactions.”

Content

Wim was familiar with E-Board® mainly from renovations: “It's so very easy. You leave the house standing and fit insulation and rows of brickwork around it, and it's insulated and renovated in just a few weeks. But it’s a practical solution for a newbuild too. We had already had clients for E-Board® on a regular basis and referred them to Vandersanden.” Wim: “We are also working on other projects and E-Board® will certainly be considered for renovations. It is a somewhat newer method of construction. I think Western Flanders is still rather conservative. Working with aerated concrete and E-Board® façade insulation is not common here yet.” Sylvie: “Wim is a bit more technical than I am. So I asked him why he wanted this method: ‘Why don't we build ‘normally’?’ But we would definitely build this way again. I wasn’t familiar with the system and was afraid it would fail.”

The same went for the contractor, Wim continues: “He hadn’t worked with E-Board® before. We supported him and there was also a Vandersanden representative with whom I visited a site. That is useful if you don’t know the system: to go and have a look at how everything is bonded and mechanically secured in the right way, and how the bricks are properly positioned in the mortar. Vandersanden also has a number of video clips for this. Once you’ve figured that out, it goes smoothly. It goes brick row by brick row, just as with bricklaying but quickly. The system is simple, even for the details.”

And that also makes it easy to rectify a mistake, Wim says: “I had to make a wall thicker in places. A mistake by the contractor who constructed the shell meant that the window ran a bit outwards from the Ytong aerated concrete. But the system is flexible. So we had to correct a few centimetres. We simply thickened it with insulation and the problem was solved.”

keyboard_arrow_left keyboard_arrow_right
keyboard_arrow_right keyboard_arrow_left

Project