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AVCA - "Big house, Small plot"

"The house is a large contemporary shelter with asymmetric pitched roof that hosts a small tribe"

Client/Maître d'ouvrage:CAUE du Calvados
Location/Lieu:Vire, France
Area/Surface: 211,6sqm/211,6m²
Cooperation/Collaboration: ---
Status/Status: Competition/Concours
Perspectives 3D/3D Visualizations: Ladeira Visarq

The project is located in a district under development on the outskirts of the city of Vire in Normandy. The neighborhood is essentially composed with many detached houses which all look the same type. Some of these houses replicate a style midway between the promoter's suburban pavilion and the contemporary house. There are very few buildings with interesting architectural quality.


All plots of the neighborhood are relatively small, encouraging buildings to be as compact as possible in order to have the largest garden possible. However, this process quickly shows its limits, with houses presenting similar urban qualities: a plot entrance dedicated for outdoor parking, a two-storey house with symmetrical pitched roof, setting back from the main access road and a garden with little plantation at the back of plot. This organization produces an urbanization where the house and its garden are juxtaposed without real connection.


Rather than repeating the general neighborhood layout, the project creates a big shelter house by including all the functions of the program and outdoor spaces (terrace and garden) under a single volume. A big family, a big house, a big garden; all under one roof.


Unlike the houses of the neighborhood, the house is not compact. It stretches and covers a large part of its site. It is a large contemporary shelter with asymmetric pitched roof that hosts a small tribe. Like a small village, inside the house, there are buildings (private spaces), alleys (corridors and footbridges), public spaces (living room and dining room) and sharing spaces (mezzanine and musical podium). The garden and the terraces slip under the general volume and are no longer seen as a simple juxtaposition to the building. It is a large habitable shelter where all the functions of life coexist.


The house is very light thanks to a steel column / beam structural system. It is covered with a raw steel skin (corten) that gives it a rural appearance despite its urban location.

This metal skin is punctually perforated with openings strategically arranged to preserve the privacy of its occupants.

According to the occupants' privacy needs, the openings are associated with planted patios with shrubs or with wood louvers that visually filter and protect from the street view and the promiscuity of the neighbors' plot.


Inside, the volume is large, generous and bathed with light. The house is crossed by an alley that expands as needed to become living spaces such as living room and dining room and ends on a podium that will host the musical performances of the family.


The private functions are wrapped in 3 wooden volumes, with interior windows giving an urban dimension to the space. On the second floor the volumes are connected by small bridges and are punctuated by mezzanines which are spaces suitable and adaptable for all members of the family.


More than a functional house, it is a flexible place of life where each member of the family will be able to devote themself to their activities while remaining connected with the rest of his tribe.

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