Tuesday, November 8, 2011


The municipal government of Antwerp was happy to let this young couple use a gap between two buildings in the red light district as a home and office. Some people say that this gap was created by a firebomb thrown by a gang member. The city, in any case, was desperate for development in this area and as a result allowed the couple [whose firm is named Sculp(IT)] to bypass a great number of architectural regulations in order to design the building exactly the way they intended.

It struck me that their intention was to avoid the first-wave-of-gentrification architecture that prevails: a proliferation of fences, barbed wire, cameras, etc. The bottom window is also the front door.

Wouldn't you like a rooftop bathtub?

The thesis statement of the building is that there ought to be no problem with an extreme collision of the public and private. The local newspapers call them the exhibitionism artists. Since this is the red light district (and Belgium), the idea that neighbors might be offended by the nudity of bathers on a roof is absurd. Since the couple also work together as a firm, they place their office directly beneath their bedroom. And, most bizarrely, their toilet and shower is next to the bed:

2.4m wide, 5.5m deep.