ARBA- : Entre les murs

Between the walls ... Quèsaco? The sequel to the film directed by Laurent Cantet and awarded at the Cannes Film Festival in 2008? Nay! This is a house designed by the architecture agency ARBA- in 2017 in the town of Thomery. A somewhat particular achievement, because it is located on a land delimited - and cut out - by walls of vines with which the designers had to deal ...

When their clients entrust them with the mission of designing a family home on this land located in Thomery (77), a small town on the edge of the Fontainebleau forest, the architects Jean-Baptiste Barache and Sihem Lamine find themselves faced with a rather particular dilemma. . Indeed, the city is characterized by the presence of hundreds of vineyard walls which demarcate the properties of the inhabitants. So far, nothing very complex, except that the plot in question is precisely crossed right in the middle by one of these low walls.

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“A lot of the poetics of the place came from this wall, from the stonework. It created an ecosystem around it: generating shade, it stored calories and gave them back to climbing plants. But it was disturbing, dividing in two a land that we would have liked to be unitary and open! ", testify Jean-Baptiste Barache and Sihem Lamine. So faced with the magic emanating from this heritage, architects ask themselves: "Should he destroy it and recreate new? Or at best, reuse its stones? Should we keep this object intact, as we have found, the "respect" as one would respect a tree or an object of heritage? These questions are classic for heritage professionals, but we are creators of "new", and this wall was not a heritage object in the classic sense of the term. "

Luckily for the vineyard wall, Jean-Baptiste Barache and Sihem Lamine are not only "Creators of the new". They are also sensitive architects. So the duo chooses to keep this element, which is ultimately cut out only in the center. The house is built in wood according to a square plan, between the northern enclosure and the famous wall, so that it has three independent gardens: to the east, south and west. Around the project, a passageway facilitates the movement of inhabitants and occupies the space left between the facades and outdoor spaces protected from the weather and helps to obscure the limit inside / outside.

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Inside too, wood is king. "Interior arrangements and partitions are made of birch plywood"explain the builders. On the ground floor, the large living room enjoys a beautiful and pleasant height under ceiling, thanks to the piercing of a central atrium emphasized by the presence of the stove and its conduit. In the two upper floors, the intimate rooms all overlook this void, allowing the occupants to always stay in touch. Last interesting detail: the bracing panels of wood frame walls, usually hidden, are here left exposed and simply painted white. A good way to combine budget savings and aesthetics ...

To learn more, visit the site of ARBA- 

Photographs: Daniel Moulinet