The facade needed a complete renovation. According to the architect, the aesthetics of a new brick facade was of secondary importance to the energy aspect. Architect Bylois explains: “As from 2021, all new homes in Belgium must be BEN compliant (Bijna Energie Neutraal = Almost Energy Neutral). And even with this type of in-depth renovation, a comprehensive energy-efficient approach is becoming increasingly important. Consequently, with a view to the future, this conversion is perceived as a low-energy renovation. Our conscious decision to apply high-efficiency insulation to the exterior of the facade, presented us with the opportunity to carry out modifications to the facade which would enhance the property's natural daylight.”
A sustainable and quick-to-install insulation system
Pull the house down was financially and spatially not viable. After considering a number of different insulation systems on the market, the E-Board system was decided upon. “Our hesitation regarding the artificial aspect of the system was quickly overcome by the financial viability and sustainability with regard to other comparable facade systems,” architect Bylois remarks. “The facade system was designed to make it easy to transfer any additional load onto the existing foundations. And no additional work was needed to the carcass structure. The system also gave us the opportunity to give the existing windows and their proportions a contemporary look.” According to architect Bylois, the fact that the E-Board system is quick to install, is an important advantage with this type of renovation. Paulus, the contractor, needed only 1 week to install the 12 cm thick insulation. Bonding the brick slips took 3 weeks. “It does not take long to install the panels and owners are free to choose when they want the work done. Also, you have a wide range of facing bricks to choose from.”
Deciding on the Billund brick: “It was love at first sight …”
“We were adamant we wanted to preserve the brick look of the property. Discovering the new water-struck range of bricks, in combination with the E-Board system, served to make this decision easier. Usually the choice to use bricks is down to considerations of durability. With comparable systems such as a facade plaster coating and cladding, factors including weathering and maintenance always need to be taken into consideration, and are often unpredictable,” explains architect Michel Bylois.
The answer to the question why they chose the facing brick Billund water-struck was simple. “Love at first sight ... The new Vandersanden water-struck range contains a number of very attractive bricks with amazing colour effects and they are very affordable. The colour of the Billund brick perfectly matches the shade of the roofing and vice versa. We chose a jointless look, as this would give the building the best possible homogeneous look.”
The tension between old and new makes for a distinctive property
“The deviations in the facade of the existing building were difficult to assess in advance,” according to the architect. “The top of the front facade leaned over almost 5 cm more than it did at the bottom. Visible right angles of 90° were suddenly 105°. Installing the wooden windows in the facade demanded a great deal of coordination between the different contractors. All windows and doors were first hung and waterproofed, before the E-Board facade system was fitted. The design posed a challenge as we wanted to preserve the typical old elements of the property as much as possible. From experience we know that the tension between old and new tends to highlight the most distinctive elements of the property. And so we made it our mission to preserve the attractive, yet functional wooden stairs, wooden interior doors and wooden roof girders,” architect Bylois explains.