City living can come with certain limitations. Namely, limited space and obstructed access to natural light. At one point, this compact house in Mechelen, Belgium, suffered from the woes of not enough space and not enough light—then it got a major makeover.
Belgian architecture firm dmvA transformed the building into an airy and light-filled space that defies its position between two red brick buildings. The 1,000-square-foot house even has a built-in greenhouse where its owner can tend to her plants.
To maximize both plant (and human) access to sunlight, the architects removed most of the particle board interior walls and built a large skylight, which allows sun to illuminate the third floor where the living room is. The biggest change came from demolishing the back section of the house that abutted another building.
In its place were two unremovable beams that cut across the surface. The architects viewed the beams as an opportunity—instead of covering them up or filling in the deck, they built a glassy greenhouse to balance on top of the beams, ultimately elevating the plants so they can absorb as much light as possible. Clever.