A long parallelepiped of raw, thick concrete, dean-cut and mysterious, levitates over the hillside in defiance of gravity. One must come closer, through a long stone wall, gray and chalky like the surrounding hills, to detect the trick behind this illusion. Upending the vertical proportions to which the eye has been used since early times, the house's apex is much wider than its base: the first floor is cantilevered on either side of a minimal garden level. Giving the impression of a precarious balance, while minimizing the construction's direct footprint on what came before it, this configuration asserts the fragility and the impermanence of human interventions on the great canvas of the landscape.
From the elevated living room one dives into the pool below, and from the pool one jumps into a sea of evergreen oaks—a protected, luxuriant forest in the Luberon, not far from a tiny hilltop village. Seen from above, the grass on the green roof partially conceals the concrete's roughness, thus mimicking the natural color palette of the surroundings, where leaves and needles provide imperfect camouflage to the dirt and rocks: in both cases, an expanse of gray with sprinklings of green on it.
The villa's uncluttered internal layout asserts itself with clarity. In the center, a wooden volume gathers all the utilitarian areas of the home, from the kitchen through the bathroom to the closets. On either side, liberated from these down-to-earth necessities, the living room and master bedroom are free to unfurl their ample span, and the gaze takes flight unencumbered.
The concrete block's lateral opacity is indeed offset by the wide revolving floor-to-ceiling windows at each end, which ensure the space's luminosity: simultaneously open and closed, the villa is both a protective jewel case for its occupants' intimacy and a belvedere overlooking a landscape that stretches as far as the eye can see, providing a tantalizing hint of the infinite. It's as if the villa affirms that the foremost goal of architecture is to compel us to look at nature, thus teaching us to respect it, and to proclaim that it remains the first, last, and best dwelling of man.