mont gerbier museum extension celebrates the mountainous terrain of southeastern france

mont gerbier museum extension celebrates the mountainous terrain of southeastern france

the touristic site of the loire springs at mont gerbier-de-jonc is characterized by its mountainous terrain and forested trails. situated in the southeast of france, an historic, disused chalet overlooks the rough landscape and the loire river. this chalet served as an early travelers stopover dating back to 1904. in an effort to revitalize the spirit of traditional early 20th century tourism, the county of ardèche hosted a competition for the development of the mont gerbier museum from the derelict structure. the winning entry by charles-henri tachon and gelin lafon, built entirely of basalt concrete, was designed to recall the early traveler’s romanticism of nature.

mont gerbier museum
all images by nicolas waltefaugle



in the restoration of the disused structure, charles-henri tachon and gelin lafon retain the silhouette of the original chalet. this strategy preserves the historical traces of the building which had been the object of various transformations over the decades. this preservation is most visibly expressed through the ruinous materiality juxtaposed with raw concrete, meeting at a rugged, organic seam. as the entire museum program could not fit into the existing envelope, a contemporary extension was developed, providing additional gallery space. as very little of the intervention is visible from the road, the project respects the integrity of the original construction. the extension takes the form of a covered courtyard, whose walls are made of concrete poured into formwork made of brushed chestnut planks.

mont gerbier museum



visible from the exterior, the extended rear wall follows the slope of mont gerbier. the smoothed concrete addition it is enclosed by a canopy supported by a concrete structure consisting of gridded cross beams. these thickened beams span overhead the extended gallery space, exaggerating the rhythmic shadow and light. the transverse beams incline toward the direction of the sloping terrain. they compose a set of framed views highlighting the distinctive, textural ridgeline of mont gerbier-de-jonc, which participates in the staging of the place.

mont gerbier museum mont gerbier museum mont gerbier museum mont gerbier museum mont gerbier museum mont gerbier museum mont gerbier museum mont gerbier museum mont gerbier museum mont gerbier museum



project info:


client: county concil of ardèche

lead architect: charles-henri tachon and gelin lafon

landscape designer: territoires

architect in charge of the construction site coordination: SCPA soler gasseng

scenographer: armelle bres & agence basalte

audiovisual and multimedia design: fleur de papier

surveyor: vincent pourtau

structure: evp ingénierie

thermal product manager: chaléas

environmental consultant: franck boutté

photography: nicolas waltefaugle

  • Well done. I love these semi-restoration/modernization projects. This would certainly be a worthy stop.


    Jimmy Xi says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

comments policy
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

architecture news

keep up with our daily and weekly stories
490,448 subscribers
- see sample
- see sample