Mr. « M » and family contracted the office to design their new home in a recently purchased a small site up the hill of Villejuif city (125m²), a town in the suburbs of Paris.
The parcel is located in a garden housing district characterized by single family homes. The terrain is south oriented, and directly accessible from the main road. The family wished for a three bedroom house, with a study area, living-dining room and a garden totalizing a built-up area of around 80m².
The zone regulations allowed for a small 40% footprint of the terrain and required a pinch roof typology for the house. In order to fulfill the client’s ambitions a vertical construction was necessary due to the small parcel. Needless to say the budget was not very extensive.
The first operation was to place the house offset from the street and back property limits, thus creating two different kinds of exterior areas around the ground floor. The street offset sufficiently big to allow the garden to work as a buffer zone from the street life. Moreover, due to the difference in height from the sidewalk, a very efficient way of protecting the private from the public sphere. The northern garden, on the other hand, works as a kind of extension of the living area with a very different kind of atmosphere, a place to gather and protect from direct sun light on the summer days, a very intimate kind of exterior space.
The second operation was to project a strategy of minimal surfaces / maximal effect by negotiating between mass and terrain, views and levels are created. The spiral organization of the house then interacts within the constraints and topography of the site in order to deploy a split level typology where all the rooms are south oriented. The kitchen then is half sunken in relation to the living area so the sense of depth and volume is enhanced. The stair case is left open resulting in a deep spatial sensation all over the house. The final mass of the project is then the result of the inner organization.
In terms of materials we deploy a construction system down to basics, so inner envelope is made of painted concrete blocks with an exterior wood wool thermal insulation. The inner structure on the other hand is made in exposed wood giving a warm quality to the house.