• 1 minute Read

To Spruce Up An A-Frame House, Architects Tame The Wild Angles

A simple extension makes this old A-frame in Belgium more spatially efficient–and eminently more stylish.

Between the 1950s and early 1970s, A-frame houses were the vacation homes of the moment. Their cartoonishly oversized roofs became potent status symbols for post-war middle-class families with money to throw around and leisure time to spare.

Today, A-frames feel about as fresh as a pillbox hat (with notable exceptions), not least of all because their pyramid shape wastes tremendous amounts of space at a time when our embattled environment demands sleeker residential design. Which makes what Belgian architects dmvA have done in Brecht all the more impressive: They managed to turn an old A-frame into a 21st-century exemplar of style and efficiency.

Their trick: a little thing we in the business like to call “right angles.” That’s right. Their big design move was to rip out the walls and facade of one side of the existing A-frame, leaving only the structural beams, then tack on a glass-enclosed box to create a chic, logically arranged first floor. Whereas before, you had to squeeze furniture and people into awkward little nooks (no doubt to the detriment of anyone over 6 feet tall), now you know have bona fide, 90-degree corners that can accommodate luxuries such as bookshelves, a bathroom, and–gasp!–tables and chairs.

[Images courtesy of dmvA]

About the author

Suzanne LaBarre is the editor of Co.Design. Previously, she was the online content director of Popular Science and has written for the New York Times, the New York Observer, Newsday, I.D.