A blue “roadsign” with the striking logo of BLAF betrays the location of the architects in a quiet residential street near the market in Lokeren. A large carriage entrance opens into a wide passage with view of the garden, the agency right, left the meeting. We have a casual chat with Bart Van Den Driessche, one of the managers of BLAF architecten. Lieven Nijs, the other manager, joins the company after a meeting in Brussels.
(autotranslated) Both architects were at the same stage Lokerse architect, a real architect with an eye for detail, attention to wood. From childhood, Bart was in the workshop of his grandfather already familiar with the material wood. He recently found a notebook in which he wrote back as 10 years old that he wanted to become an architect and drew plans. The agency initially started with small projects, especially renovations where the material wood rather than an obvious choice. From the properties of wood desk went unconscious in the field of low-energy building. The collaboration with Barbara Oelbrandt when designing the nulenergetische house with skin of textile made building an ecologically aware: how else to build, think about traditions and non-traditions, and this in full consciousness.
To the outside world it looks like BARK has launched the first project that fell in price, but there is a lot of development preceded. Departures from small scale is a thoughtful strategy with the intention to get all aspects in a similar way to master and handle.
BLAF is working on an integrated sustainability, not a hollow word, but as the essence of this time! _ “If you see how fast everything has evolved in the last fifty years. Then you should be able to adjust your vision. It is not about one or the other, it’s about everything and that is a fact which we take for years: build environmentally and energy conscious. That is no problem. “_ Said Bart Van Den Driessche. _ “Just as you have a certain budget to meet, you must also solve an ecological problem, strive for efficient functionality, optimized construction method, appropriate structure, the correct choice of materials and design language, technical force … and all within the various constraints.” _
Stijn Bollaert BLAF is a team that has the necessary diversity in all facets home to offer an answer. A team in constant internal dialogue to link everything together and harmonize. This approach throughout the process of questions and answers leads to architecture. Everything hangs together. The architectural quality is not necessarily the most important. It is a goal, just like the budget and the energy build up is a target.
BLAF want at any level (ecological, urban, functional, program requirements, architectural …) the maximum attainable. If one aspect are not met, the design does not satisfy. The more you master the individual parameters and controls, the stronger the whole. That totality to keep control BLAF is convinced that the technical aspects of architecture and the energetic issues are more and more problems for the designer and not just for the engineering and / or technical adviser. It’s just that overarching designer qualities that bind everything together.
Ecological building must become a way of life, and should not slipping into an elitist affair. Broad public support must be responsible for a new consciousness. New challenges give rise to new experiments and pushing the boundaries. Of BLAF chose at the start of the slow way and this strong investment in research. The quirky how the firm is reflected in the somewhat rebellious BARK naming and logo. Referring initially to the names of three partners (now two), this anagram transcends its origins and mentions a special institution that is not only architecturally but also need social questions. Its own (rebellious?) Path as a principle.
For the reading you can go to see the hand of accompanying bike card a number of projects in Lokeren. The houses are well can only be visited from outside.