Ellena Mehl Architects skillfully disguised a new modern extension inside the terraced gardens of a traditional Provencal farmhouse in southeast France. Located in an old hamlet dating back to before the 19th century, the SPE House, is undeniably contemporary yet complements the historic landscape with its use of stone – a nod to the nearby retaining walls. Wild grass covers the terraced roof and minimizes the building’s visual impact on the landscape.
The 120-square-meter SPE House comprises two levels: a ground floor for the living areas and a basement, connected to the kitchen of the main house, that contains two cellars, a boiler, and solar heating room. Built of concrete, the extension features an asymmetric roof that follows the site’s topography. “The extension is set within the existing terraced planes, between the main house and the stone walls, redefining new intersection lines in the landscape,” wrote the architects. “The main level is connected at half level to the house using reshaped existing stairs.”
The main level consists of a bedroom, dressing room, and bathroom. The bedroom, extruded into the landscape, is faced with a double glazed wall with a 10-millimeter-thick pane of toughened glass as the external wall and an inner curtain glass wall. Both glazed walls are operable. The double-glazing, along with a roller blind, help mitigate unwanted solar gain.
Photo credit: Hervé ELLENA