Two Houses around a Loggia
2009 - ongoing | media: building | location: Vendée, France | scale: 250m2
The extension of this farm house is an exercise in developping an ambiguous contemporary architectural language which both seamlessly prolongs the traditional building and clearly expresses our current time. The aim is to achieve a building which expresses a total unity where the past and future combine in balance.
The 3 hectares site is in an Area of Natural Beauty and our approach is to celebrate the cultural and ecological qualities of the site. The buildings are used to frame the landscape, both from without, in the gaps between the two houses and the barn, as well as from within.
The typology of this building called longere is similar to a cottage ; it is formed by the linear arrangement of a succession of rooms on one or two storeys. This is particularly flexible in time and indeed the existing house has typically been extended 4 times already. We continue with the addition of a large and tall drawing room and bedroom above, in line with the rest of the house but separated by a covered terrace of the same dimension which we call the loggia.
This intermediate space is anbiguous in its environmental quality and use, it is both inside and out. Although not heated, it can be opened or closed following the weather conditions and seasons to form a tempered version of the climate. It can function as a sun space or as protection from the rain, or as shade, or as a glass house. It is large enough to sit 50 people confortably and can be used to grow vegetables all year round. As it can be fully opened, it does not have the drawback of overheating that a glasshouse has. This is particularly an issue in the mild and sunny semi Mediterranean climate found here.
As this space is central to the house it also brings people in contact with their surrounding whilst they move through the building; this reminds you and attracts you to the the climate and the surrounding landscape. It forms a punctuation in your daily life and a transition between the inside and out. At the same time, the building forms a gateway to the lush landscape falling down behind, the loggia is like a doorway which frames the vegetation and sky beyond.
The interest into flexible fenestration extends to the windows which are all a flexible association of sliding doors, shutters and insect screens which can be retracted out of the way into the walls. This combination allows perfect ventilation, shading and security in the hotter months. For the covered terrace, industrial and glazed sectional door can be closed or retracted under the roof completely out of the way. Robust materials are being used throughout for maximum flexibility.
The landscape is being shaped through our Landscape Gestures.