Cottage, Herault, France

bfa with Kalhöfer und Korschildgen (Kalhöfer, Haucke)Structural engineer: Prof. Arne Künstler, imagine structure, Rendering: Johannes Haucke

The cottage in France is located in a village in the Herault, which is a listed monument. The house is rather an ensemble of two houses in a narrow alley, one of which exists only in parts and gives up the free space for the intact part. One house can only function because the other one no longer exists and this one, as a courtyard, provides the necessary free space missing in the middle of the village and the illumination of the whole in the deep plot. Absurdly, this open space is not on the first floor level, but can be reached via a staircase that leads to the former upper floor.

Superficially, it is about the monumental restoration of the dilapidated house. The historic substance is to be preserved and only in some places supplemented by a new technical infrastructure and bathrooms. The courtyard is to be spanned by a new terrace on the 2nd level. Here is also a view of the castle (the chateau) above the village possible.

The courtyard is actually the site of a former house of which now only the front vaulted cellar at alley level with the vaulted staircase leading to the 1st floor and the front facade exist. Through the remaining fragments of the facade and the staircase, however, the empty space still conveys the silent presence of the former house.

Based on this ambivalence, the new terrace is placed in the space as a mobile terrace element.

The terrace spans the space in between. Lowered, it reinforces its previous meaning as a former living space or, when raised, leaves it exposed as an empty space and alley.

Mobility is not the actual goal of the design, but the possibility to visualize different states of the house in temporally alternating images. The place as an alley and as a formerly built and used space are interwoven in the project, as it were, and emerge as shadows of the real state in each case. It is the blending of both possibilities that makes visible and explains the temporal development from the intact past to the torn present. Without acting in space there is no understanding. Translated with (free version)