The area is a plot on the side of a mountain covered almost entirely in trees, with great cedars and a superb view over the Grenoble Valley, the mountains of Belledonne and of the Vercors.
The client’s dream was for a Californian style house, but planning rules, with their architectural stranglehold, insisted on a regionalist style, in keeping with today’s frenetic insistence on regulations, reflected in moralising phrases such as " there have to be some standards". It took a year of discussions and meetings to convince the local council of the absurdity of imposing aesthetic constraints, and eventually to obtain a building permit.
The house extends along the contour lines following three successive strata which fan out into the landscape and the view over Grenoble to the southwest, creating a new topography designed to make the very steep land habitable. Each level has its own pattern specific to its content, its position in relation to the trees and to the view: the fact that the different floors are not superimposed releases extensive terraces and overhangs, enhancing the quality of the living space. There is something spectacular about the whole structure, a place for day-to-day living but also for entertaining.
The ground floor contains the technical spaces and garages, excavated into the slope, as well as the bedrooms. The layout of this level is designed to protect the cedars. The presence of tree trunks and vegetation at basement level gives the bedrooms an "earthy" feel, in contrast with the upper level, which is very airy and open to the landscape.
The story of a house is always the story of a position.
It is the story of the relationship between an architect and a client.
It is also the story of a place capable of founding a dream of living.
520 m2 total floor area
Hérault Arnod Architectes, lead architect
Éric Alfiéri, project manager
Building delivered 1999