Old and new rub shoulders at bed and breakfast spot The Bunkers, converted from a former fortress by Govaert & Vanhoutte Architects.
Known as Fort Hazegras, the fortification and barracks on the Belgian-Dutch border date back to 1785, and sit within a protected bird sanctuary just outside of Knokke.
Real estate agents Axel and Margaux De Bisscop acquired the crumbling structures and enlisted the Bruges-based practice to transform the farmhouse and barn into a family home and boutique B&B business in 2015.
The Bunkers B&B takes over the site’s historic barn, which has been restored and extended via a new afrormosia wood volume. A new gabled roof continues the line of the original brick building, blurring the line between the two structures, while floor-to-ceiling metal framed windows look onto the surrounding polder, dotted with WW1 bunkers – now home to the farm’s chickens and sheep.
Kristof Goossens designed the B&B’s interiors. They have a neo-brutalist bent thanks to rough concrete surfaces, including a cast concrete island in the black lacquered steel kitchen.
‘By choosing concrete, we once again translated the spirit of the bunkers,’ Goossens told De Tijd. ‘This is how we draw in the rough polder landscape’.
Guests at The Bunkers – which is bookable with price on application – can explore nearby Knokke-Heist, or take a dip in the B&B’s indoor swimming pool which is enclosed by glass and has far reaching views.