Located in a small hamlet in Charentes-Maritimes (FR) overseeing the Gironde estuary, an existing barn is transformed into a holiday house. The project is conceived as a sequence of differentiated volumes each with its own orientation and distinct characteristics.
The first gesture is to propose an extension widely open onto the estuary. The pre-existing buildings were originally organized around a shared courtyard with the neighbors to meet the needs of agriculture and animal rearing, thus ignoring the view. The extension hosts the main collective spaces for the family (kitchen, living and dining area, wood stove) and gives access to a large covered terrace.
The second gesture is to remove a roof between two of the existing volumes to create a patio. This new outdoor space, directly linked to the terrace of the extension, is well protected from the wind allowing for an alternative atmosphere and use. Out of these two operations results a project made of juxtapositions of volumes, circulation, usages and materials.
Exposed concrete frames are poured on site to create large openings as well as to reinforce the walls. The new extension develops its material character through a juxtaposition of three elements: a largely closed timber facade on the street side; an exposed concrete portico with three posts and a beam; and a monumental colonnade made of five round polished concrete columns, on which is stacked the timber roof structure that defines the shape of the volume.
The project initiates a new dialogue between old and new, generating curious collages of raw materials, volumes, roofs and geometries. Multiple openings allow for outdoor and indoor spaces to interlace through a variety of routes to use every day. In the winter, the wood stove burns quietly and one can unwind observing the water in the distance. In the summer, all windows are open, fresh air as well as family members circulate throughout fluidly, moving around old stones and new elements, between the shelter and the landscape.