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MJ Architectes by La Grange de Mon Père


Program: It’s an extension of a traditional house, which only deal with the living room / dining room. The home became too small with the arrival of a new baby in the family. The only programmatic constraint imposed by the client concern the connection of the extension through the kitchen or the entrance area to the house.

Site constraints: The grandfather farmer's family house is located in agricultural area. The surrounding architecture is devoted to farming. There is a flagrant archetype concerning the 'traditional' type of dwelling house, indeed there are farm annex buildings which can be similar to huge cottages, small hangars or most often small white or translucent greenhouses with long metal double pitched roof or half-cylindrical form.

The existing house is composed of two big gables and let an important part of the site unused. At the bottom of the west gable, underground space is occupied by water network and grease tank. The fact to take off the house extension is a technical obviousness. Then, it's also an occasion to honour the landscape through the architecture, and put in place a architectural language in order to stimulating the collective imagination, different era imaginary corresponding to a flourishing agriculture.

Project characteristics: The ground is composed of sandy silts. We have chosen to realise a construction rising off the ground in order to avoid heavily impacted the ground. The clients expected to a heavy and traditional architecture while the landscape inspire us holiday and lightness. Once the agricultural language established, we study the vocabulary, exactly, which inspire us holiday and lightness: wood beach boxes and Californian house on the sand.

We have chosen wood, which is light and thermally very interesting. The advantage is also to have a dry and fast construction site. 15 meter long, 4 meter in width, little magnitude. 8 concrete plinths for foundation, a wooden-floored, wood walls are assembled on the ground, a north rigid gable in wood, a south gable of glass so there is a weak recovery by a steel portal and with a tie beam composed of stainless steel small cable for the bracing. And finally a roof without frame, simply made from auto-stable caissons once implemented.

All the facades are articulated with pin white varnish sawn slats. The roof is on galvanised steel corrugated iron. Millworks are in the same tones, in natural anodized aluminium. Moreover the big sliding shutter is constituted of natural galvanized steel frame with the same openwork filling than the facade. In addition, the sliding system is directly borrowed to the neighbour shed.

The exterior with a dress designed by sawn slats contrasts with an interior that is calm, smooth, flat and slightly shiny. The ground is in wood, pine, simple, not expansive and beautiful.

This uncluttered volume will be open to the West on the garden and in the same way to the East on the big patio, which is protected by the sun thanks to the gable of the existing house. The south facade will be integrally open in set back from to able an efficient sun protection. Finally, there will be to the West a huge sliding shutter for the sun protection of summer. The area between the existing house and the extension is a false patio because it isn't close on its own sides. This patio is an answer to the climatic constraints of this region (area protected from the wind year round and from the sun on summer).


Words: Courtesy of MJ Architects
Photos: Michael Jan