As a family grew out of their 18th century orangery (a greenhouse), they decided to expand off to the side and enlisted the help of Paris architect, Christian Pottgiesser. The orangery was once part of a castle in Yvelines, France, but had grown too small for the family with four children. What resulted was Maison L, a dungeon-inspired stone and concrete tower addition built into the ground where each person has their own private tower.
While the orangery is not an obvious part of the project, the family’s home addition is connected to the old building on the west side. Built into the hillside, the building’s rock base, which contains the family’s common rooms, is nestled into the ground. From there, five white concrete towers with pine wood trim jut upwards. The roof of the base is accessible via the hillside and is planted with perennial vegetation with bamboo poles stuck into the ground around the edges to form a sort of railing.
Each member of the family has their own tower with a dressing room and sleeping area. The parent’s tower, the largest of the five, also has a rooftop patio, from which they can watch the on goings of their dungeon-like abode. The common areas connect all of the towers together, and unlike a dungeon, they are naturally day lit from skylights. Concrete and masonry construction provides thermal mass for the home, keeping it cool in the summer. Simply furnished and decorated, the home addition is a striking departure from the 18th century architecture and seems more like the Bastille than a family home, although a very interesting one at that.
Images © George Dupin, Pascale Thomas & CPAP