The new project has been realized in a neighborhood, Antony that is an example of the belief that architecture, whether heterogeneous and homogeneous, is shaped by outdated zoning regulations. The delays in securing permits, along with conditions of the urban situation and our desire to continue and refine our own research on wood constructions, led us to propose a type of construction system.
This type is still not released in urban areas and rather reserved for detached houses in less dense sites. The urban rules and the site context, which is very typical, have suggested the template, which has proved a real asset to the project. Up there, the shape of the roof/pergola, which looks like an unfinished roof, has a specific function. On the one hand, it takes the archetype of the context, inserting the project in its environment without disrupting the urban rhythm, on the other hand, it won’t accommodate a closed roof that would become a catch-all attic or a wasted space.
So we have inserted inhabitants in it, and have left it open by transforming it into a vegetable terrace, intimate and sunny. The choice of plants proposed by the landscape designer, grasses and vines on the pergola offering fruits (kiwis, squashes, grapes), will enable the owners to enjoy a vegetable garden, a suspended garden.
The program was for a blended family, calling for a flexible, modular design and design process. The answer was to instill two areas, separated but and overlapping. With very few adjustments, these two areas could become one larger, combined space. The walls of the skylight illuminating the ground floor can be optionally removed, tomorrow perhaps working as railings and returning visual link between the two floors. The staircase is positioned in the central frame of servant areas, with the entry today common to both access. Tomorrow it might be possible to open this frame in onto the day spaces.
Giant sliding walls on each floor divide into two day spaces in order to currently organize a new partition of the areas and create an office/library on the ground floor area and a cinema on the first floor, and tomorrow, to partition the space according to use. A sideboard on wheels slips between the kitchen and the terrace on the ground floor, moving the dining area outside on sunny days.
The layout has been designed to focus on flexibility and adaptation of the everyday living spaces, seasons (in summer, the space continues outside and is more open and more spacious, while in winter, it is gathered around the fireplace) and on long-term projects. This layout researches the adaption of the lifestyle of the owners.
Eco-Sustainable Construction System
Completely built in wood panels placed on a pedestal (the ground here is very bad), the house is completely prefabricated in a workshop and delivered to the site to be finally assembled in just two weeks. This is a building system in Finnish wood panels that come from sustainably managed cooperatives of small private forest owners.
The pre-cut panels, supplemented by wood fiber insulation and non-treated siding, arrived at the site almost finished, reducing pollution to a minimum (the site being located in a dense suburb). The façades, in wood panels too, were mounted along the floor. With a very efficient exterior insulation system which completely allows the elimination of thermal bridges, wood construction has the advantage to make the building very powerful.
The under-floor gas-fired heating with low temperature becomes almost superfluous. The double-glazed + argon windows of the patios and the South façades, deliberately oversized, capture the sun in winter and are sheltered by a canopy and a pergola in summer. This allows together with their performance and surface, an easy control of the solar gain and air flow as needed, without necessitating an intensive use of air conditioning or heating.
The main facade on the street, lodging the rooms in the North, is a composition of large glazed openings and single opening shutters designed in stainless steel mirror with no glazing. The reflections of the vegetation and the movement of these shutters in stainless steel mirrors make the façade changing.
The ventilation of the rooms is regulated by the openings of the shutters, and the penetration of light through the windows. The recovery of rainwater can water the garden and planters allow homeowners to cultivate aromatic plants and garden without water over-consumption.