Crafted with layered wood and clad in Cor-Ten steel, a film lover’s backyard retreat offers a series of surprises.

When a homeowner in the film industry asked Atelier Vens Vanbelle to build a guesthouse in his backyard, he had only one request—that it be unforgettable. 

Connected to the main residence in Berlare, Belgium, by an underground corridor that leads guests up a spiral staircase, Alex Guesthouse is a three-story retreat encompassing a basement cinema and bar, a main living floor, and a watchtower surveying the Schelde river. Its sculptural, layered form was created off-site with laminated wood, then built on the property and clad in Cor-Ten steel. The undulating interiors give this backyard cabin a whimsical, grotto-like feel.

Photo: Tim Van de Velde

Photo: Tim Van de Velde

Photo: Tim Van de Velde

See the full story on Dwell.com: This Beguiling Guesthouse in Belgium Has an Underground Cinema and a Watchtower