What was the brief?
The demand of the customers was singular: they wanted to live in a dense residential area without seeing the pavilions around. The architects' response was equally so.They designed a massive volume of raw concrete, whose openings and facades were conceived to maintain the privacy of the inhabitants and to frame the landscape with precision.On the ground floor, the space has been thought of as an undergrowth. On the first floor, the openings are judiciously arranged and sized to offer framing on the horizon, on the port of Gennevilliers and La Défense, while the room opens onto a patio. Each space was designed to allow its inhabitants to escape.
What were the key challenges?
The site was constrained by its location at the crossroads of two streets. By regulation, a withdrawal of 4 to 7 meters was imposed to the main facades, south and east sides of the plot. But this last is only 5 to 9 meters wide. It was therefore necessary to close the East facade to avoid the withdrawal and be able to realize a house with comfortable proportions. The constraints of the PLU have thus helped to assert the intuitions of the building owners by privileging the view towards the North, in the depth of the garden and the South view which will prove of an astonishing quality.
By precisely orienting the views according to a cleverly orchestrated vertical stroll, the house magnifies the strange richness of the surrounding landscape and reveals interior spaces of a delicious comfort. We enter the house by its eastern face, the most closed, through the garage without a car, almost in trench, under a powerful overhang that subtly reinforces the presentiment of oppression that inevitably evokes the symbolism of a Blockhouse. This approach prepares the effect of surprise which, at the outlet of the first staircase, accentuates the pleasure of entering a vast, warm and particularly bright living room.
This first volume is contiguous with the kitchen, half a level above. It is illuminated by three facades and sheds on the roof, but all the attention is drawn by the huge window that frames the view in the depth of the garden: four meters by three, two meters thick, extended by a diving board-like platform. This garden is not one of those where one wanders, where one has a good time. It can only be reached by a leap, it is a garden at a distance, a plant painting in the manner of Baragan where the plans follow one another and from the living, thanks to huge vertical blinkers, seems to plunge the whole house in a deep pocket forest whose contours one can not discern.
On the southern side, however, the blinkers are horizontal, they split the massive facade from one side to the other, they cut a generous slice in the landscape of a loop of the Seine. We are on the overhang, the kitchen was literally raised to place the view over the sheds, to hide the street and keep the landscape only the exceptional panorama that opens in front of us, pinched between two thick blades of concrete.
On the upper floor the point is even more radical: from the room you only see the sky. The south side, facing the bed is fully glazed, it overlooks the terrace closed by the sheds that illuminate the living room and the curved pediment of the house. The volume that seemed so massive from below now looks like a thin, hollow shell. We leave the room, we climb a first ramp, the solarium, intimate relationship with the sky for absolute tranquility. After a second slope, a terrace overhangs and the eye is hoisted above the parapet and it is then a bird's eye view.
What materials did you choose and why?
Concrete: structure and facades. The idea of a wood construction was quickly dismissed because of the idea behind the project: to build a bunker. This blockhouse aspect is assumed as the evocation of these ruins with rounded forms of rocks on which the nature gradually regains its rights.A romantic figure, an unidentified poetic object, for which clients and architects find a common sensibility.
This project would have been used another writing, but it would have been just a bunker disguised on a orthogonal house. It is a bunker after all: its powerful relation to the ground, how it cut slices of landscape, the opaque east façade constrained by regulations, and most of all, because of the willing of the owners to remove themselves from the surroundings.
Material Used :
1. Flooring: Material type: Wood floor resting on the joist, Product, Ambiance Bois
2. Windows: Aluminum, Product, Cortizo
3. Heating: Wood stove
4. Insulation: From the inside: wood wool 200 cm + complex wood wool and floor joist
5. Environmental specificities: Rainwater collectors