In homage to the rich architectural heritage of the French commune Boulogne-Billancourt, Paris-based architectural firm Jakob + MacFarlane has crafted La Maison Connectée (The Connected House), a contemporary home that takes inspiration from the structure of a tree. Designed with a double-skin facade, the multifaceted, sculptural home is a continuation of the area’s experimental housing, such as its famous Modernist neighbor, the UNESCO-listed Immeuble Molitor apartment building by Le Corbusier. La Maison Connectée was engineered for reduced energy use and equipped with an intelligent home-automation system and underground water systems that power its heating and electricity.
Inspired by Boulogne-Billancourt’s reputation as an “architectural laboratory” in the early 20th century, the architects created an innovative home that combines biomimicry, energy-efficient systems and contemporary design into a single dwelling. La Maison Connectée, which was completed in 2017, spans an area of 750 square meters with three floors, a basement and an accessible rooftop terrace. Outdoor terraces and balconies are inserted between the two facades; the outer multifaceted, metal facade provides privacy and shading to the rooms fitted with full-height glazing.
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“The main programmatic spaces of the house spread like successive layers of a tree, from the central circulation core, its heart to the facetted exterior façade, its bark,” the architects explained. “The tree metaphor also works in cross-section, where the soils are supported by a branched tubular structure. This structure is designed as a three-dimensional matrix that becomes the exoskeleton, also allowing the reading of the different layers.”
To preserve the historic character of the avenue, the architects retained the existing black metal fence and planted shrub species and large trees around the plot to reinforce the neighborhood’s leafy appearance. Although the experimental home visually stands out amongst its neighbors, the project was approved by both the Architect of the Buildings of France and the APP, an organization that protects the Parc des Princes district.
Photography by Roland Halbe via Jakob+MacFarlane