Garches, France (92)
In the Hauts-de-Seine department, the town of Garches is appreciated by its inhabitants because of its guaranteed peace and quiet: surrounded by green areas, woods, parks or golf courses, the town protects them from the dense and often agitated Parisian conurbation. A few minutes away from Paris, this town offers the luxury of a life “like on the countryside”, even if it happens to be a city. On a plot next to the city-centre, a new house replicates this intimacy on its own scale: it carefully avoids the surrounding small buildings by turning its back on them, and chooses to opens itself to its south-east oriented garden. The Montané House goes over the basics, by offering sun and green to the hosted family. This couple with its three children left their previews dwelling for a more contemporary housing, designed according to their life habits. The floorplan is organized around the kitchen, central space of the house as well as in their family’s life. Very spacious, this only kitchen takes over half of the ground floor area, shaped in a right angled volume. The other wing hosts the living room, in the middle of which the chimney is throning. The two parts of the L are connected by a natural zenithally lightened staircase. The kitchen and the living room open largely onto their terraces and the garden through wide bay windows, which create the effect of opening the inside up to the outside.
The first level is the space of intimacy: the three children rooms and the master suite are spread on both sides of the L, and linked by the central bathrooms. The siblings and the parents can gather on the common long balcony, over the garden.
The white and uncluttered interior contrasts with the multiple cladding-materials of the exterior. The first level volume, built out of wooden framework with ecological materials, seems to float over the concrete ground floor, covered in plaster. This impression of levitation over a massive base is accentuated by the bay windows, marking the separation between both volumes. Compact as it is, this house avoids the heat loss and therefore nearly reaches the passive level.