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"The house is an anchor point in the work of B+O"

Frits Pentenga, former architect-advisor at Libau, visited the museum in Miró during a holiday in 2010. He also read the book Vaslav by Arthur Japin. In both experiences, he found a fitting definition for the design for the house of the Goossens family in Midlaren, namely an anchor point in the history of B+O Architects.

‘It is 1919 when two brothers from Switzerland went from the mountains to the valley. It was mainly curiosity that drew them here. In the valley, they meet people from different cultures and nationalities, including a strange professor. They receive the peculiar request to carry the writing utensils and the professor’s chair into the mountains. After all, all the fun and entertainment can be found in the valley. In retrospect, it turns out to be Nietzsche who is –inspired by nature in the mountains – writing his important work about love. This writing meant a shift in the arts and sciences as the world knew them. Also known as an anchor point.’

Anchor point
‘This same anchor point can be found in the design for the home of the Goossens family, but in that case regarding the development of the B+O Architects. The house was inspired by the environment while sitting on a folding chair at the location. As a result of this design, I came into contact with a new archetype in architecture when designing this house; the barn house. The simple main shape, the massive expression and the restrained use of colour formed the first steps towards abstraction. Where a lot of form expression was used in the designs by B+O Architects before, this design marks the start of statements made with less architectural means.’

Still, this design isn’t a barn house in the purest sense of the word. For that, it has been adorned too carefully with details and the need for effect is too great. This is mainly reflected in the glass walls and the façade composition. The garden has also been designed in a territorium-like fashion, while a barn house asks for a more subtle transition from open area to private space. The mansion fits the location, but the enrichment of the location is destroyed by the many details in the design. Still, it makes sense that the architect also listens to the wishes of the client. You can see that Pieter Brink, in a similar way to Nietzsche, sat on a folding chair at the location and was inspired by the surroundings. Here, he said goodbye to the original ’30s house and decided to go for innovation. A development that is very human and fits in the evolution concept. This design is not an end point, but an ‘anchor point’ in the development of the architectural vocabulary of B+O. In every design that follows, the abstraction increases and the barn archetype develops in the purest form.’

‘I visited the museum of Miró, which was designed by architect Sert, during my holidays in Palma de Mallorca. The museum is clearly a design inspired by the surroundings. The foundation of the architecture can be found here, because all contradictions can be seen here. It has abstracted and dramatically charged accents, leaves room for light and dark and combines static with moving elements. It is in line with the work of Miró, Le Corbusier, Picasso and the philosophy of Nietzsche. But the language of love for the craft of the architect has the leading role in all the designs. I recognise this same love in the recently realised work by B+O Architects, with the family Goossens’ mansion as that one anchor point.’

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