The project is located in Beausoleil, a village situated midway between Nice and Italy. This small town, built on the hillside between the sea and the mountain demonstrates an approach to town planning typical to the region. Instead of standardized volumes of buildings there are thin strips, one or two plots wide, rising in tiers and lined with streets traversing the east to west latitude. The town is served by a pedestrian orientated network of straight stairways with a Northern/Southern aspect and these unique long fissures offer glimpses toward the sea and give the area a vertiginous nature.
The neighbourhood embraces a disparate mix of construction types, small houses juxtaposed against large apartment buildings. The parcel is located on a plot that slopes steeply towards the South. Access is from the ‘Avenue de Villaine,’ directly above the plot and strict building regulations determine the size of the building.
The apartments are placed from level one upward. The ground floor and the basement, profiting from the slope, are utilized for naturally illuminated and well ventilated car parks. The narrow plot forces a network of gangways, in effect raised sidewalks that open onto the street and northern hillside. Nine conduits punctuate the length of the building. These form double aspect apartments articulating around blocks composed of kitchens, bathroom and toilets. Originally designed as two or three-roomed apartments they can be coupled together to expand the interior volume and the central units adapted to new desires. The final two levels are comprised of three adjacent duplexes, considered as villas on the roof, each having the benefit of a panoramic solarium.
The building collates two different scales:
Uphill, it’s connected with the proportions of the ground and street. The pedestrian routes are situated at the back side of the building and open out onto the hill and the outline of the building is fragmented into small volumes standing in harmony with the nearby buildings.
Downhill, it opens onto the view, facing the Mediterranean Sea, with Monaco below. The front façade becomes a 2.40m by 4.10m grid of loggias, projecting the viewer into the landscape and reaffirming the vertiginous and floating quality of the site.
Construction on the hillside offers different points of view of a building. The project can be observed from the top of the slope, consequently viewing foremost its roof, or, from a lower angle where it can be appreciated within the developed entirety of the hillside.
The roof was thus considered as a fifth facade. Comprising of autonomous wooden solariums, it allows the occupants to climb up to the roof to enjoy the exceptional view.
The Southern façade assimilates itself into the vertical urban landscape of the hillside, characteristic of the urbanized littoral of the Riviera. A contemporary reinterpretation of traditional stucco facing techniques was used for the façade and lacquered metal for the shutters and backside volumes, and exotic wood on the roof for the solariums. The façade is contrived as a spiral on which each plane is coloured with a progressively darker tone until at the final turn the building is evident as two volumes, one whom relates directly to the street and the other turning toward the wide landscape.