Vaux-sur-Mer, France - ongoing - with Atelier Archipel
Vélo Cité formalizes the link between the traditional city and the new neighborhoods developed near the Royan coast. An ensemble that integrates into the existing slope and proposes a new roofing landscape. Like the old Charente houses, cut and capped with irregular roofs, we propose a volumetric composition that marks the territory and qualifies it strongly.
A double topography drawn on the ground and in the air. It proposes rhythms in frontage based on the work of the base and its extension in the form of walls of fence. In order to establish our buildings, the boundary between the public and the private sector is materialized by these lines stretched in the landscape, on which the constructions emerge. It is built in raw concrete and becomes the support for the landscaping that links the entire project.
This materiality takes all its meaning to express the concept of evolutionary housing, applied to the scale of the individual house. We opt to differentiate the Unit (isolated and heated) from the Annex (empty hull in double height) in their expression, to signify this evolution of housing.
A reflection that starts from a questioning on the current way of “consume” housing, and our ability to “re-enchant” its programmatic and architectural design: how to remain innovative in both technical and social? It would therefore be a question of thinking about new forms of production, avoiding the standardized product that no longer fits the current households.
Housing in Bordeaux
Bordeaux, France - 2018 - Photography: Agnès Clotis
Repetition, rhythm and stratification seem to be some of the fundamental tools to develop a collective housing project. They lead us towards an economy of means intimately linked to a rational constructive system. An architecture that seeks clarity in its expression, and simplicity in its forms.
The project is located on an atypical site, not far from the most urban core of Bordeaux. One of the particularities of the plot is the extensive setbacks of its direct neighbors, which implies that the lateral walls of the building are very visible from the public space. Having no windows, the treatment of these nine-meter-high facades and their materiality are part of the project's keys. We choose the continuity with the facades towards the street and back: between the horizontal elements in concrete, the gray mortar used affirms the rotundity of the volumes, and confers them the desired abstract aspect. In this way, the constructive system adopted is revealed: a succession of porticos that cross the plot from one side to the other and limit the points of support. It is a visible structural response on the façade that speaks about the place where we settled, the proximity of the Garonne, and the constructive needs inherent to this territory. The urban lace is finally achieved thanks to the side courtyards that separate the two built bodies. They allow us to articulate the building with the neighbor, generating a gap between them that relates them with harmony.
The sobriety we would like to reach aims to single out each home through the repetition of identical elements. Thanks to the generosity of the windows facing the street, the relationship of each occupant with the outside is manifested independently, allowing us to understand this diversity within the unit of construction.
House in Pontaillac
Royan, France - 2018 - Photography: Agnès Clotis
"To build is to shelter. Raising walls to protect, and put a roof over, make shade." Pierre Lajus.Building a detached house nowadays, and particularly in the Royan region, a territory marked by the arrival of the modern movement during the 1950s, represents an architectural exercise in its own right. The interest is not to bend to an aesthetic or a dogma, but rather to take advantage of this opportunity to better understand its vocabulary and codes. They go well beyond a façade work, and very often push the drawing towards a great intelligence in plan and a strong flexibility in the ways of appropriating it. We wanted to work an architecture that opens with measure, controlling the light. From this desire comes a frank project, heavy. Surrounded by notions as stereotomy, thickness and gravity. The concrete block is coated with white, to catch this light from the ocean, and only the floor and rooftop elements appear in its true raw nature. This gray concrete marks two broad, horizontal lines, anchoring the building further in the ground.
Ustaritz , France - 2017 - Photography: Agnès Clotis
H-eva is a space experience, opened to the landscape and aware of our daily needs. It is a micro-architecture that combines modern comfort and traditional materials. Prefabricated, transportable and autonomous to varying degrees. It draws from nature its elements, the sun, the water and the wood of which it is entirely constituted. H-eva's drawing is based on a balance of proportions, masses and energies. Human at the heart of his origins, immersed in his environment. The material is left raw, the contrast between light and dark, inside and outside.
H-eva is the result of research on the off-site construction, the assembly is done entirely in workshop, limiting displacements, in respectful way of the environment. The wood species are local with controlled origins. Douglas cladding boards are burned to protect them from insects and weather. This deep black is reminiscent of the huts of regional woodcutters. H-eva goes and carries itself. Output of the workshop it is brought to destination by flatbed truck and installed thanks to a crane. It touches the earth subtly, with the minimum possible impact, leaving the land reversible to use.
Its dimensions adapt to the road jigs. Depending on the use and the field, three widths are proposed, 2.50m, 3m and 3.50m. The modules can vary in length from 8 to 9 or 12 m, for an interior surface ranging from 16 to 38 m2. The maximum height is 3.40m. Elements can connect to each other to form larger sets. H-eva offers autonomy at different scales. To warm, to light, to bathe, those needs of every day of which one forgets the hidden complexity. H-eva does not hinder the earth, it is delicately placed on it and does not need connections. It opens the field of possibilities, catalyses the place and the moment.