Atelier Ordinaire’s French countryside retreat challenges typologies

Atelier Ordinaire’s French countryside retreat challenges typologies

A holiday home with tailor made interiors pieces by Stattmann Furniture balances between a boutique, private retreat and a larger group escape in the French countryside, courtesy of Strasbourg-based architecture studio, and Wallpaper* Architects Directory alumn, Atelier Ordinaire

A holiday house designed both as an escape for a family of five, and a retreat to receive up to 16 guests to socialise and entertain in larger groups, this new house in Gerardmer, northeast France, is the brainchild of Strasbourg based Atelier Ordinaire. Composed of three interlocking volumes, the 200 sq m building is an experimentation in both typologies and material use, as per the studio’s ongoing fascinations.

‘As this is a second home, it presented an opportunity for us: to question the "holiday home" programme,’ say the architects. ‘We wanted to give it a very specific scale, between the small hotel, the refuge and the hut. We also wanted to make it possible to work in groups around large tables, as well as working alone in small rooms with views of the landscape. There are very few objects needed to live in this house, no decoration. We wanted space and emptiness to dominate so that everyone can use the house freely.’

atelier ordinaire gerardmer house exterior

One volume contains the entrance hall, a sauna, a kitchen and auxiliary spaces; the second one includes the main living areas, offering long, green views through large openings; while the third is where six generous bedroom suites are located. Of course, functionality and the clients’ brief played a key role in the design solution, but the project was equally inspired by the Vosges area’s farms in terms of its use of simple forms and materials. There is a steel roof, grey larch cladding and an interior made mostly of spruce wood and CLT panel construction. 

‘As is often the case, our references come from rural typologies, such as the farm, the shed, the shelter...’ explain the architects. ‘These references serve as a guide, but we do feel more and more free in our design. Our position as architects is to question the ordinary. In this project we wanted to suspend a part of the house to create passages and limit the impact on the ground. This is not common, there are no references to lead us to this choice, it is only our feeling in relation to the context. Atelier Ordinaire seeks this duality between the evidence of a context and the liberty to dare to question it.’

The interior was elevated by incorporating built-in, bespoke elements, created in collaboration with Stattmann Furniture – as a result, anything from storage units to beds and benches are integrated smoothly into the design to present a holistically designed, complete concept. §

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