THE HOUSE IN THE GROVE
A private house built in a grove near Fontainebleau. The building is compact and
its higher floor levels are incorporated into a wooden roof.
When we first visited the garden in which this house was to be built, we came to the conclusion that the challenge would be one of scale. A high or extended building would have blocked and ruined the full view of this charming orchard. And we had to find the right balance between our intervention (the building’s height and ground impact) and the site proper.
In addition to being compact and smooth, the building had to give the overall impression of being low to the ground. The gutter line and the down
slope perimeter had to be the lowest possible. That’s how the two upper levels of the house ended up being integrated within a wooden roof clad in stick panels. Our target was to make them less readable, to make them fade away!
The garden level, however, is treated differently. It adjusts snugly to the outside environment. Framed views, crossing views and openings allow for such a relationship. Clad surfaces, for their part, are treated with a rhythmic
panelling and embossed wood strips.
The strips also contribute in reducing the scale of a blind wall. They bring it within the reach of a human hand.