AIG - 2 Houses 1 Roof
"The large roof will create many covered terraces, which will be buffer spaces between the rooms and the garden
Photos: Fabienne Delafraye
Mr and Mrs G. live for a few years in a beautiful stone house in the suburbs of Paris, in a quiet street where each house tries to stand out from its neighbors by its architectural character.
The G. are a typical French family with 2 children, which soon will be teenagers, two cars and like many families the need to get more space.
Their house has 3 floors (including one floor to park one of their cars) and sits on a narrow plot with a steep slope. On the street side, the house is tall and slim like a dungeon. Seen from the garden, the house looks totally different, it loses one level and has an extension (made by the previous owners) that houses the kitchen. On this side the beautiful stone and the kitchen extension are entirely covered in beige coating.
Like the volume of the house, the rooms inside are relatively small, especially the bedrooms on the second floor, for which the furniture must be cleverly arranged due to the sloped ceiling.
For many years, as long as the children were young, this situation was relatively acceptable for the owners. Now that the children are becoming teenagers, their need for autonomy, space and intimacy is growing.
According to their new needs, several options were considered by the owners:
The first solution, the most radical: to sell their house and to buy a larger one. But this solution required a lot of changes, especially for the children
The second option was to build an extension instead of the kitchen volume with a developer. Unfortunately this solution will remain as a study.
After several other unsuccessful searches, the couple still couldn’t find a solution. By chance, it turned out that the house next to their plot, unoccupied for several years, was for sale. It was an opportunity for Mr. and Mrs. G. to buy this new property and to concretize their desires for additional spaces.
The house is a traditional masonry dwelling that has undergone many changes over the years, including two successive extensions that altered the overall volume. In addition to these volumes the house had an attic accessible by an external staircase, which has never been used because the roof has never been done properly.
The owner’s idea was simple: to connect the two houses so they will have a larger house with a larger garden.
The difficulty of this project was to give a homogeneous and global character to these two buildings. Indeed, each house has its own architectural language and a new volume addition could accentuate the visual disorder.
Our first intervention was to demolish all the non-exploitable volumes of the new acquisition, including the extensions where the spaces were damaged. The attic couldn’t be included into the project and was also removed. The tiles of the existing roof were carefully taken off to be reused on the new roof.
Once these first interventions were done, the two houses have been connected by a large roof. It is covered with a light gray steel cladding which act like a hyphen connecting the two constructions in a simple and discreet way. All the volumes under the roof are entirely dressed in white coating to homogenize the facade. To finalize our intervention, large windows were added to the facade in order to connect the interior spaces with the garden.
The large roof creates many covered terraces, which will become buffer spaces between the rooms and the garden. Now the owners can take back possession of their garden and create new uses thanks to the many terraces.
From the street, both houses seem to have preserved their architectural independence, their volume still look like the same. The view of the new extension is almost invisible and don’t distort the existing environment.
Indeed, the new volume is setting in the back and only a light glass connection between the two houses is noticeable. The house entrance has been preserved and accessible from the original staircase.
With the modification of a part of the land, a new parking space required by the urban regulations has been created in front of the volume of the old house.
The extension houses the new living room, which have a direct access to the garden, unlike its current position in the house. It also includes the owner’s spaces (bedroom, dressing room and bathroom) which is an independent part of the house.
The existing kitchen is reorganized to meet the new owner’s needs and is visually opened on the garden with a large panoramic window.
The architectural intervention is minimal, but it brought a radical change to the house of Mr and Mrs G.