a stepped concrete house by tectoniques architectes emerges from the ground in france
 

a stepped concrete house by tectoniques architectes emerges from the ground in france

the team at tectoniques architectes was commissioned by a private client to design a new home in saint-cyr-au-mont-d’or, france. with the client already owning an existing residence on the site, which dates back to the end of the 19th century, the brief called for a contemporary villa to be built next-door. the resulting P. house combines traditional construction techniques with a stepped volume that is anchored into the ground and appears to grow organically outwards into the surroundings. 

a stepped concrete house by tectoniques architectes emerges from the ground in france designboom

all images © jérôme ricolleau

 

 

in contrast to the existing house that was built level to the road, the new residence is stepped into the contours of the land. in doing this, tectoniques architectes creates a more natural, ‘earth-like’ intervention. this rooted appearance is accompanied by a strong materiality, resulting in an architectural expression that is singular in both shape and texture.

a stepped concrete house by tectoniques architectes emerges from the ground in france designboom

 

 

the geometry of the house is simple and raw, with no decorative element making it look as if it was a rock hewn from the ground. this austerity aims to accentuate the massively dense nature of the volume, which is formed as a large cuboid hollowed out with two terraces. 

a stepped concrete house by tectoniques architectes emerges from the ground in france designboom

 

 

the building is anchored into the ground and described by the architect as an ‘iceberg’ due to a buried underground volume that is actually larger than the visible volumes. this was achieved with special foundations and civil engineering work to position 8-metre high soldier piles to retain the hill behind the wall. despite this huge retaining wall, the house remains very open to the surrounding landscape, with beautiful views from all levels and terraces.

a stepped concrete house by tectoniques architectes emerges from the ground in france designboom

 

 

the P. house was built using traditional techniques. developed with the firm lafarge, the white in-situ concrete was colored with ochre dyes, and used a coarse aggregate, less water and was vibrated manually to obtain a thick, imperfect end result. traditional timber formwork 50 cm high was laid in successive vertical layers around the entire perimeter of the house. steel pins were utilized purposefully to pattern the concrete with small dots of rust when the splice plates were removed. these small marks create an intriguing pattern on the concrete.

a stepped concrete house by tectoniques architectes emerges from the ground in france designboom

 

 

the house is programmed across four platforms. from top to bottom, each level is dedicated to a specific use: parking, the master bedroom, the children’s bedrooms, the living spaces and utilities. a large staircase connects them with three straight flights of stairs. the first, the longest, is external. the next two are internal. this vertical circulation creates a passage from the street to the garden, via the entire house. it opens up views and a pathway which takes in all the spaces throughout the height and breadth of the building.

a stepped concrete house by tectoniques architectes emerges from the ground in france designboom

 

 

the planted terraces inserted into the two intermediate levels give the impression from specific angles that they are level with the garden, whereas the ‘real’ garden is actually on the lower level, extending out from the ground floor of the house. the main living area is furthest away from the entrance and the parking spaces on the roof. at first glance, when viewed from the street, the house can’t even be seen. the staircase is first and foremost a voyage of discovery, along the spine and into the heart of the house.

a stepped concrete house by tectoniques architectes emerges from the ground in france designboom

 

 

the combination of starkly different materials is one of the defining characteristics of the project. the house is built from rustic, thick, textured concrete which appears to have emerged directly from the earth. this brutalism is offset by an interior that is extremely sophisticated and warm. the materials used in the interiors are limited in number and precious in nature. the raw concrete is still present but is accompanied by oak timber used for the woodwork and flooring, bleached spruce for the ceilings and crafted steel for all the metalwork and locks. 

a stepped concrete house by tectoniques architectes emerges from the ground in france designboom

 

 

the atmosphere of the interior is light, clean and spacious. the large windows cover the whole of the west façade. the project makes the most of the site and capitalises on the slope leading towards the valley. the windows have a distinctive design system: two sections side by side separately manage the views and lighting or provide natural ventilation. the larger section is glazed and only opens vertically to avoid taking up space. the smaller section, fitted with a wooden shutter, opens into the depth of the wall.

a stepped concrete house by tectoniques architectes emerges from the ground in france designboom

a stepped concrete house by tectoniques architectes emerges from the ground in france designboom

 

 

 

project info:

 

project name: the P. house

program: house

location: saint-cyr-au-mont-d’or, france

client: private

landscaping: sandrine ligonnet

architect: tectoniques architectes

engineer: tectoniques ingénieurs

 

total floor area: 2433 ft2 (226 m2)

cost of works: not provided

photography: jérôme ricolleau

 

main contractors:

masonry: SC bat

woodwork: ferlay

locksmith: ceser

electricity: michel

HVAC: loison

swimming pool: RPC

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