House Dr. Castelein – Dr. Larmuseau
© Kristien Daem
Life partners Peter De Bruycker and Inge De Brock have been running their architecture practice for 30 years and counting. They deliberately kept their office small as a kind of statement, choosing to slow down and concentrate on every detail in their projects in this age of speed and globalisation.
De Bruycker-De Brock don’t believe in dogmas. Each project is viewed as a unique chance to reveal the memory and the genius of the place, the so-called genius loci. They listen carefully to their clients, observe their way of life, and pay special attention to the remains of existing features and traces on the building site. As they read the construction with the scrutiny of an archeologist, they also incorporate personal memories and nostalgia that they glean from conversations with their clients. One could say that their work incorporates the principle of ‘critical regionalism’ – an architecture based on modernist principles combined with a selective (read: critical) integration of local materials and topography.
Discreet, modest, subtle… above all, the architects are looking to build in a natural, authentic and self-evident way. They pay as much attention to the environment and the garden as to the architecture. In the case of their own home and office, they even planted extra trees to restore the existing forest. One could describe the intentions of De Bruycker - De Brock as looking for simplicity, sculpting daylight, making spaces interact, creating perspectives to enhance social life and intermediate spaces to blur the boundaries between interior and exterior. They do all this with a great sense for colour and tactility.
Most remarkably, their buildings never cry for attention. It even seems that they have always stood there. But they have an aura; they radiate an energy which is the energy of life itself.