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Penthouse MC

Experience modern city living at its finest with the Penthouse MC in the heart of historic Gent, Belgium. This innovative project by OOA.works is a rooftop extension and renovation of a 1950s apartment block, creating a stunning penthouse that seemingly floats above the city's rooftops. The design draws inspiration from modernist ship style, creating a unique aesthetic that blends seamlessly with the surrounding architecture. The penthouse features incredible views towards the various anchor points, creating a sense of connection to the city's rich history and culture.

A quiet little island where you still feel the energy of the city, that's what Magalie Munters and Hugo Crombez wanted to make happen. They did so with the Ghent skyline as a backdrop and a somewhat dated flat as a canvas.They live above their architect's office and enjoy the best view in the whole city. With Sint-Lucas around the corner, Magalie and Hugo already knew the neighbourhood for a long time. They saw the neighbourhood evolve and detected strength and character in a dilapidated 1958 building.

Once they graduated, they renovated the flat on the first floor. Ten years on, they know the entire complex like the back of their hand. Magalie: "From the start, we saw it as a noble mission to work out an integrated approach for the entire apartment building."

Meanwhile, Hugo's sister lives in their first flat and they have renovated the top floor for themselves. The architects became the driving force behind the development of the entire building, in close consultation with the Historic Monuments Trust. The metal structure on their terrace and canopy let the line of the outer façade continue, seamless and sleek.

Their balustrade looks like the crowning glory of the building (and of their work).When we ring the doorbell, it is tropically hot outside. An indecently late heatwave has descended on the city. Ghent's noses seem to be melting from it. Moments later, we are standing six high where a fresh breeze blows through the flat. This is the vibe of Miami, but with centuries-old towers as a panorama.

The view is so overwhelming that it leaves us speechless, around the sleek kitchen arch.Bulthaup's austere b2 kitchen island has been given a central but discreet place here. This b2 is actually always 'discreet'... the well-known kitchen island does well in loft-like spaces and also in places where you want the architectural line to continue.

Hugo: "The view is the big trump card here.... you don't need other eye-catchers then, because they would disrupt the enchantment. Soberness is a must here. "The sucking effect emanates from their terrace, of course.... the landmarks are outside. But within easy reach, though... it looks like you can touch the golden dragon on the belfry.

"Well yes... the unique location gives you the duty to do something with the view, without becoming a nuisance yourself. Furnishing our roof terrace soon became the biggest challenge in the whole renovation. But we're not complaining," laughs Magalie. "You notice that our balustrade is quite high.... we worked with square elements of 1 metre 25."

At Magalie's invitation, I sit down on the lilac beanbag to see exactly what they had in mind. And indeed, I behold a contemporary painting of the Korenlei, enclosed in a tight frame. Besides the open frames, the balustrade also consists of white perforated sheets of the same dimensions.Magalie: "This way, we ourselves look through a mosaic of holes, while there is no view from the other side. This forms a uniform whole with the plasterwork on the building. Moreover, it creates a filtered shadow."

Shadow... Magalie and Hugo are very creative with that. There is also a vertical canopy that provides shade for both the terrace and the interior space. This canopy is also an architectural element that forms part of the renovated façade.Hugo: "The canopies spread a shadow over the seating area and the kitchen, which is also the intention. We wanted lots of light, but we didn't want it to become a glass goblet. So we have windows that reach to the ceiling, ideal for the sense of space and light, but that also requires a bit of shelter so that it remains homely and intimate."

photo credits: Tim Van de Velde

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