house CRB


The CRB house is a research project for a single-family unit, composed of a prefabricated, massive wooden structure, that can be assembled within a limited time-frame. The design attempts to keep the nature unharmed, while responding to the urban sprawl in the countryside.

The new house, inspired by the Tange house, is defined by a construction where housing space can be modified. Movable walls and sliding doors can expand or reduce the size of each room, or open the room to the communal space. The load bearing elements and walls are made from cross laminated timber, which is left exposed, avoiding the need for another material.


The main challenge of the project was to design a structure that could also be easily dismantled after its use, bringing the site back to its previous natural context with a minimal impact. To achieve this, the house had to function individually, whilst independent from the urban energy grid.

By organizing all wet rooms on the top floor, the house could be placed on a simple concrete foundation slab meant to hold the structure together. Once the house is dismantled, due to an adequate depth of the foundation slab, the site can be covered with soil and sustain the regrowth of vegetation.

CRB model process 3.jpg

Additionally, house CRB has an atypical arrangement of functional spaces, where the living spaces are lifted on the top floor, inviting more light, while the rooms are situated one meter below the ground level, in direct contact with their surroundings. Unlike the bedrooms which residents use to retreat for longer time spans, the living room on the top is treated like a short indulgence which immerses the users in a panoramic view of the natural surroundings.

both floors.jpg

The plans also pay special attention to different relations between the rooms of each floor. All the separate common spaces on the top are interconnected by meandering visual and physical ties, whereas the isolated bedrooms on the bottom meet in a shared open area towards the front.

All these aspects were combined with the specific desires of the clients, like the special positioning of the Christmas tree which functioned as an important cultural element in their household.

181119 side view e 45.jpg

project: house crb

team: de baes

location: Beauvechain, belgium

status: design development

year: 2017

program: residential