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The building was originally an old wooden shed in very poor condition – a strong candidate for demolition. The challenge was to find ways to develop and optimize the spaces within a volume that could not be modified due to planning by-laws.
The project is an architect’s house, for an architect.
Not only did the building need to be inhabitable, it also had to set an example for building of its style and reflect the architect’s vision for the future of construction in mountainous areas (boldness, contemporary lines, high-quality materials, and environment-friendly solutions).
The cottage is equipped with a heat pump. It is insulated by 35 cm of rock wool in the walls and 30 cm of rock wool in the roof, making the finished building a model of energy efficiency.
The openwork siding creates an “indoor-outdoor” effect, particularly through the creation of vestibules in the clerestory-type openings.
Rusted façade elements strengthen the graphical and aesthetic impact.
With its openness to the outside, the house reflects the architect’s philosophy of life: every human being is an actor on the stage of everyday life.
The roof is made of the same material as the siding, laid directly on the waterproofing to produce a snow-guard effect. Overall, the building is grounded in angularity and symmetry.
Use of space
The ground floor features a large living room, American-style kitchen and even a garage. The garage is a nod to the American homes of the 1960s and 70s. From the ground floor, a panoramic view of the garden is seen through a large picture window that admits considerable natural light.
Inside, the structural reinforcements (the charcoal-grey elements) make the large open space possible. The décor is based on a black-and-white theme. The 120x60 tiles create a sense of depth, and are also used in the bathrooms.
Upstairs are two bedrooms and an office with children’s bunk beds. Each bedroom has an en-suite bathroom.
One of the bedrooms faces the Drus. This room has a special feature: an outdoor alcove attached to the façade. This “metal box” is a space for relaxing and contemplating a spectacular view of one of the range’s most iconic peaks.
Site: Les Praz de Chamonix, next to the Trent Jones golf course
Time frame: 2012
Mission type: completed
Usable floor space: 134 m2 (1442 sq. ft.)
Total area: 169 m2 (1819 sq. ft.)
Renovation cost: €473,000 including taxes