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© Thomas Jantscher
© Thomas Jantscher
The design for a single-family home located south of Geneva in a small French village is based on a simple concept: the arrangement of about twenty identical orthogonal units creating a spatial construct that is carefully inserted in the site’s topography and is rich in variety. To this end – and with the limited budget of the family who commissioned the house in mind – the architects turned to a manufacturer of precast concrete garages. Together they studied the feasibility of the concept, developed the units, and produced them in the plant. They were then set up on site in an informal arrangement; they correspond, with respect to structure and size, to standard prefabricated garages. There are two reasons that the house, if at all, gives rise to associations with such garages only on second glance. First, neither horizontally nor vertically are the individual rooms aligned, which means that the levels of the rooms vary and have a lively overall appearance. Second, high-precision, exposed concrete surfaces and joints between the units, accompanied by large-format glazing in wood windows, provide a high standard for the carefully articulated exterior facades, which by no means bring to mind merely a place to park one’s car.