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ARCHITECTURAL STORIES BY BERNARD DE CLERCK


ARCHITECTURAL STORIES BY BERNARD DE CLERCK


CONTENTs

Foreword

4

7

Architectural Stories

11

27

The architecture of the story

Selected Works

63

Red and bright among old green

64

A palácio among the dunes and lagoons

86

No œuvre uncrowned

110

Vermeer’s light

146

Rejuvenating a family home

164

Villa with orchard and shawl

182

A friendly sphinx

194

Roof science and knowledge of colours

212

The sunken villa in the fern wood

228

Roofs, high and low, playing leapfrog

240

The house on the creek

264

Mondriaan’s eyrie

284


sommaire

Avant-propos

inhoud

7

Voorwoord

7

Architectural Stories

11

Architectural Stories

11

27

27

63

Selected Works

63

L'architecture de l'histoire

Selected Works

De architectuur van het verhaal

Rouge et lumineuse au milieu d’une végétation ancienne 64

Rood en helder tussen oud groen

64

Un palácio entre dunes et lagunes

86

Een palácio tussen duinen en lagunes

86

Pas d’œuvre sans couronnement

110

Geen œuvre zonder kroon

110

La lumière de Vermeer

146

Het licht van Vermeer

146

Cure de jouvence pour maison familiale

164

Verjongingskuur voor ouderlijk huis

164

Villa avec verger en écharpe

182

Villa met boomgaard en sjaal

182

Un sphinx amical

194

Een vriendelijke sfinx

194

La science des toits et l’art du camaïeu

212

Dakenleer en tintenkunde

212

La villa enfouie dans les fougères

228

De verzonken villa in het varenbos

228

Jeu de toitures

240

Daken en dakjes die haasje over springen

240

La maison des criques

264

Het krekenhuis

264

Nid d’aigle à la Mondrian

284

Het arendsnest van Mondriaan

284

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FOREWORD

In recent years several books have drawn attention to one or more houses and buildings designed by the architect Bernard De Clerck. The time is now ripe for a book entirely devoted to this architect, whose work shows a great deal of spontaneity and great creativity. We know from experience that he is a good listener. He very quickly understands what his clients want. Often his very first design immediately strikes home. There is no better way to illustrate his sensitivity to his clients’ wishes. His architecture is therefore never unrelated to the people for whom the house or living space is intended. And yet you will see in all his projects the unmistakable hand of this architect who studies the whole subject, the house, the environment, the history, the traditional materials and the specific characteristics of the area. He firmly roots the houses he designs or renovates in the landscape, often also sketches in the general lines of the garden and determines the atmosphere of the interior, for which he often indicates the colour and for which he has on more than one occasion designed specific furniture. Bernard De Clerck is undoubtedly a conceptual architect who is not in the least conventional, even if he finds his inspiration not only in ancient times, the Renaissance and the Arts and Crafts movement, but also in the local architecture. Each house, each living space, each cluster of buildings from the hand of Bernard De Clerck is based on a story and is the beginning of a new one. It is both time present and time past. Timeless, warm, with clear lines and with a sensitive attention to detail. Photographer Jo Pauwels and Bernard De Clerck himself have clearly illustrated a number of the architect's recent achievements, and the author Ivo Pauwels hands the reader the keys which will take him into the architecture of this prominent master builder of modern times. The Publishers

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Avant-propos

VOORWOORD

Ces dernières années, plusieurs ouvrages ont présenté une ou plusieurs réalisations de Bernard De Clerck. Le temps est venu aujourd’hui d’en éditer un qui soit entièrement consacré à cet architecte au talent spontané et extrêmement créatif. Nous savons par expérience qu’il sait écouter. Il comprend instantanément ce que ses commanditaires souhaitent. Souvent, sa première esquisse est déjà la bonne. On ne pourrait trouver démonstration plus claire de la qualité de son intuition. Son architecture n’est donc jamais détachée des gens pour qui l’habitation est construite. Pourtant, on reconnaît dans chaque projet de sa main une même attention pour l’ensemble, la maison, la nature environnante, l’histoire, les matériaux traditionnels et les caractéristiques spécifiques de la région. Il ancre les bâtiments qu’il conçoit ou rénove dans le paysage, trace bien souvent les lignes générales du jardin et détermine aussi l’atmosphère de l’intérieur, qu’il colore souvent lui-même ou pour lequel il dessine des meubles personnalisés. Bernard De Clerck est ni plus ni moins un architecte conceptuel anti-conventionnel, même si ce sont l’Antiquité, la Renaissance, le mouvement Arts and Crafts ou encore l’architecture vernaculaire qui lui fournissent l’inspiration. Chaque maison, chaque habitation, chaque ensemble signé Bernard De Clerck est fondé sur une histoire et en écrit une autre. Une réactualisation constante, en somme. Intemporelle, chaleureuse, aux lignes nettes et opérée dans un souci aigu du détail. Jo Pauwels, photographe, et Bernard De Clerck lui-même ont magistralement fixé une série de réalisations récentes de l'architecte, tandis qu'Ivo Pauwels, auteur, donne au lecteur les clés de l'œuvre de cet éminent architecte contemporain.

Verschillende boeken besteedden de jongste jaren aandacht aan één of meer woningen en huizen van de hand van architect Bernard De Clerck. Nu is de tijd rijp voor een boek dat volledig gewijd is aan deze architect die spontaan en uiterst creatief te werk gaat. Uit ervaring weten we dat hij goed kan luisteren. Hij begrijpt zeer snel wat zijn opdrachtgevers wensen. Vaak is zijn allereerste ontwerp al onmiddellijk een voltreffer. Duidelijker kan zijn invoelingsvermogen niet geïllustreerd worden. Zijn architectuur staat dus nooit los van de mensen voor wie het huis of de woning wordt gebouwd. En toch zie je in al zijn projecten onmiskenbaar de hand van deze bouwmeester die aandacht heeft voor het geheel, het huis, de omringende natuur, de geschiedenis, de traditionele materialen en de specifieke kenmerken van de streek. Hij verankert de huizen die hij ontwerpt of renoveert in het landschap, tekent vaak ook de algemene lijnen van de tuin uit en bepaalt de sfeer van het interieur dat hij vaak zelf kleur geeft en waarvoor hij meer dan eens specifieke meubelen ontwerpt. Bernard De Clerck is zonder meer een conceptueel architect die allerminst conventioneel is, al vindt hij zijn inspiratie zowel in de oudheid, de Renaissance en de Arts-and-Craftsbeweging als in de plaatselijke architectuur. Elk huis, elke woning, elke cluster van gebouwen van de hand van Bernard De Clerck is gebaseerd op een verhaal en wordt opnieuw verhaal. Het is geschied en is. Tijdloos, warm, helder van lijn en met een fijngevoelige aandacht voor het detail. Fotograaf Jo Pauwels en Bernard De Clerck zelf brachten enkele recente realisaties van de architect klaar en duidelijk in beeld en auteur Ivo Pauwels reikt de lezer sleutels aan die hem de architectuur van deze prominente hedendaagse bouwmeester binnenleiden.

Les éditeurs

De uitgevers

7


8


9


10


ARCHITECTURAL STORIES

11


12


The architecture of the story

The story of an architect In front of me sits a man with remarkably clear eyes. His speech is thoughtful, as if he is continually looking for clear lines in what he says. It is not a legal argument. Bernard De Clerck is not pleading a formal case. And although he speaks in sober terms, what he says is illuminative. You can picture him at work. More than other architects he is affected by the landscape. The client may live there already or has just bought a derelict house, or wants an entirely new house on his site. The position of it always has a certain magic for the client. Why there exactly? On a slope or at the foot of one. In a woodland of vertical trunks or on the coast, where coastline and horizon are completely level.

Probing for the inner landscape As subtle as he is when he is talking, architect Bernard De Clerck can also listen. Obviously to the wishes of his client. He does not talk of clients, but of people. And that is more than just a distinction. He probes into who they are, the people who will live in the house. What touches them? What keeps them occupied? What are their dreams? In that sense this architect is a biographer with a great sensitivity, someone who probes the inner landscape of the people for whom he works. ‘By no means do all people want the same thing, and you can’t read everyone’s mind,’ says Bernard De Clerck. ‘Often their view of things is important. And they can give you a guideline. But sometimes a distinct vision is lacking. Or it is only present in a dormant state. Then my work goes deeper and I have to attempt to “live” in the house which they unconsciously visualize. That gives you a great deal of freedom, but at the same time it commits you to an even greater responsibility.’ I think of the words of Walda Pairon. ‘A house has to be happy with its own empty space.’ It is a nice and true one-liner. Bernard De Clerck makes houses that are good to live in for his clients. In his opinion architecture implies in the first place a home. His willingness to listen, together with his willingness to put himself at the service of people, is one of the pillars of his success as a present-day architect. It is not the style that is of the greatest importance, but it is the future occupier. The people he works for undoubtedly sense that, whether or not they are conscious of doing so. That working-for-people is only one of the pillars on which Bernard De Clerck’s architecture is based and it only becomes clear when he starts talking about nature, the environment, in short, the landscape. ‘All projects have to be integrated with nature.

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There is always a valid starting point somewhere. Even if it is an old lime tree in everyday surroundings. But often I am impressed by the landscape. I go for a walk in the neighbourhood of the plot or the house that needs renovating. I try to listen to the landscape, to the wind which forever comes and goes, while taking time along with it. In that sense wind is timeless.’ The wind never stops talking. Bernard De Clerck even inspires the poet in me. I see him in my mind’s eye, while he puts out his feelers for a new commission, walking in the lightly undulating landscape or across the dunes to the beach and the waterline, where he studies and feels the stones of the old pier. I see him stand still by that lime tree, to which the wind has told its adventures for so many decennia. In which hearts have been carved which have now been obliterated by new bark. I see him daydream in that old house where everyone accepts that walls have ears, but no one bends his ear towards the patinated walls – or it would have to be Bernard. A number of Bernard De Clerck’s projects illustrate how this gifted architect has taken in the landscape. He not only listens to the old stories and sees the architectural lines offered by the landscape, he takes in the warmth or the coldness of the colours. Colours and tints which, like Mondriaan, he abstracts into planes of great harmony or elsewhere copies patinated in the paint of the walls, the doors or the shutters as in his own house in Lotenhulle. Bernard De Clerck is no dreamer, at least not in the traditional meaning of the word. He is a visionary. What is, after all, more concrete than a building of stone, steel and, in fact, concrete. And isn’t inspiration a dream? A daydream nourished by the grey of the clouds, the trees lining the brook, the coppices. ‘I am often moved,’ says this architect, ‘when I arrive for the first time at a plot or a house with character which lies splendidly in the landscape, in a field full of wildflowers, looking out on a clump of trees, a meandering brook, an elder spreading its white flower heads, a mare and its foal. In such a case you have to pull the landscape towards the house. You have to keep this interaction continually in your mind. That is why I often sketch the garden in, at least the most important axes and lines, which are then worked out in detail by garden architects who share my vision.’

No time and no distance Bernard De Clerck’s architecture is never trivial, but authentic and based on long experience, private study and a feeling for proportions. A feeling for proportions is of course a basic requirement, a sine qua non for every architect worthy of the name. ‘The architect Marc Corbiau, for whom I worked for eight years, was a great teacher. He based his designs on the classical architecture of the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans and the harmonious mannerist style of architecture of Palladio, the most important Italian architect of the Renaissance. This classical architecture gives me, too, important building bricks.

Respectably old and brand new I myself was fascinated at an early age by the logical architecture of simple country houses, farms and other old houses. Old houses have a soul. My sketches also tried to embrace that soul. And if possible, the soul of the street. Even a house can move you.’ Who has never had an inclination to go into an abandoned house, to sniff the atmosphere, to sit down for a moment, to think up a story… Who lived here and worked between the walls, in the sunlight that came sparingly into the house? Then you can

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Architectural stories by Bernard De Clerck  

Architectural Stories vertelt het architecturale verhaal van Bernard De Clerck dat staat voor artisanaal vakmanschap, een historiserende ben...

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