The Maison à Bordeaux is a private residence of three floors on a cape-like hill overlooking Bordeaux. The lower level is a series of caverns carved out from the hill, designed for the most intimate life of the family; the ground floor on garden level is a glass room – half inside, half outside – for living; and the upper floor is divided into a children's and a parents' area. The heart of the house is a 3x3.5m elevator platform that moves freely between the three floors, becoming part of the living space or kitchen or transforming itself into an intimate office space, and granting access to books, artwork, and the wine cellar.
A couple lived in a very old, beautiful house in Bordeaux. They wanted a new house, maybe a very simple house. They were looking at different architects. Then the husband had a car accident. He almost died, but he survived. Now he needs a wheelchair.
Two years later, the couple began to think about the house again. Now the new house could liberate the husband from the prison that their old house and the medieval city had become. "Contrary to what you would expect," he told the architect, "I do not want a simple house. I want a complex house, because the house will define my world..." They bought land on a hill with panoramic views over the city.
The architect proposed a house – or actually three houses on top of each other. The man had his own 'room', or rather 'station': the elevator platform. The movement of the elevator continuously changes the architecture of the house. A machine is its heart.
Program: 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms (main house); 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms
total area: 500m2
Awards: 1999 Le prix L'Equerre d'Argent, 1998 TIME Magazine Best Design of the year