Maison Mouvaux Slips into Nature
Maison Mouvaux in the North of France, designed by Tank Architects, is a family home with subtle shapes and materials that reflect the surrounding flora.
The Mouvaux House that nestles comfortably on a beautiful meadow, opens onto a clearing where it receives sunlight from the south. The house’s orientation is ideal, allowing it to benefit from natural light all day long. The house is an amalgamation of light, sunshine, and nature with the roof of the structure framing it. The roof also adds a dynamicity to the house through its varied functions, from being the covering to being the puncture to bring in light. It is a house that is spectacular and yet remains rooted to place and function while adding a sense of warmth to its interiors through the abundance of wood.
The house is designed by Olivier Camus and Lydéric Veauvy, who founded TANK in Lille in 2005. Their work results from a strong commitment to creating sensitive architecture in which the context resonates. Pursuing both academic and applied research, they teach at the Faculty of Architecture, Architectural Engineering and Urban Planning (LOCI, site of Tournai) at UCLouvain, allowing them to combine teaching, practice, and research. Enriched by engaging in these three branches, their firm’s approach addresses the ecologic and economical challenges the architectural profession is facing today while defending stronger cultural values of beauty and harmony at the same time.
“There is a marked duality at work between the ground floor and garden, and the first floor, between the abstraction of the reflections created by the large sections of glazing and brushed aluminium and the weight of the roof, which boasts living spaces. The play of full and empty volumes that accompanies this duality is complex. The roof is a wooden shell hollowed out and intermittently punctured to allow sunlight to radiate in, and offering views of the garden and the trees,” explains Oliver Camus.
Every window is singular and creates a unique spatial experience. On the ground floor, opaque blocks structure the volumes, generating, by contrast, transparencies, living spaces, and sweeping views towards the garden. The line of sight between ground and sky has been engineered to explore all the potentials of verticality. The project seeks spatial wealth afforded by a roof that folds and flooring that sometimes nestles into, sometimes hovers above the garden. The garden seems to penetrate the interior. The hybrid masses (built-in furniture, load-bearing walls, the library, etc.) offer domesticity to spaces that can be typified and decorated while opening themselves up to nature.
“The choice of materials, and in particular that of wood, is not only guided by our commitment to sustainable architecture (the wood comes from local and renewable sources) but also by the capacity of wood to make light vibrate and to be malleable on every scale. From the framework right down to furniture and interior storage designs, wood guides the project, giving the overall structure a harmonious appearance,” the architects explain.
The parti pris to reveal and strengthen the presence of the roofing and to allow the ground floor to “disappear” under the overhanging roof, the reflections of the landscape in the “facets”, the offsets embedded in the plan, all combine to support the notion of a “furtive” house. The plan bends itself so as to slide this large inhabited roof between the trees within a setting full of vegetation. The delicate play of light and the shifting atmospheres of the reflected surroundings further intensify the experience of nature. A house that “slips into” nature.
All Images by Julien Lanoo, to read more about this prolific photographer and designer, click here.