From minimalism, to plastic trends, passing through model houses, such as research in favor of sustainable architecture, the book presents the different trends that have driven the architectural research specific to this exceptional territory. Design, layout, interior decor, materials are examined there thanks to archival documents and reports of contemporary photographs.

35 villas from the 50s to today: from the brutalist radicalism of maritime concrete to the energy-efficient green villa, the greenhouse in the pines or the high-tech container “fish-box”. The fisherman's hut and the Arcachonnaises, magnificent residences from the Belle Époque, have shaped the coastline of the Arcachon basin, from the Ville d'Hiver d'Arcachon to the tip of Cap Ferret. 

Preceded by supporters of Art Deco, such as Roger-Henri Expert, and by Le Corbusier, a new generation of creators, from the beginning of the 50s, left their mark, sometimes modernist, sometimes brutalist, on the landscape of Basin with a series of villas and houses that will give it, alongside rare collective dwellings, its current unique appearance.

Divided between a search for comfort and a concern for the preservation of the natural setting, the creators – famous or unknown – have competed in ingenuity to fit into this grandiose and nevertheless fragile territory. Among them, Salier-Courtois-Lajus-Sadirac, Raphaëlle and Jacques Hondelatte or Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal (Pritzker 2021), have invented an art of living there, with an architecture that respects the environment, which has contributed to making know and love this unique natural site between dunes, pine forest and ocean. 

By means of an unpublished iconography, this work relates the epic of these achievements which, protean, have in common the quest for a symbiosis with the landscape. It invites the reader to understand the site and the territory, as well as to see the design and the intimacy of the daily life of this architecture. 

This 256-page book presents 350 illustrations through which the reader discovers (or rediscovers) the architecture of the Basin. It was co-written by Élise Guillerm (architectural historian, and lecturer at Ensa in Marseille, member of the INAMA research unit and Jean-Baptiste Marie (architect and general manager of Europe for architectural projects and urban).


Visuals ©: La Villa Geneste, LMF, Feb. 1971/Michel Nahmias





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