Eco-Friendly A-Frame in the French Countryside

Originally published in 
as 
Safe Arbor
A serene French country house expresses a reverence for wood.
Project 
House in the Grove
Architect 
Dominique Jacquot didn’t have many parameters in mind when she started imagining her house in the countryside, 45 minutes outside Paris. One requirement, however, was plenty of wood. She ran across architect Jean-Baptiste Barache’s wooden A-frame house in Normandy 
and liked that it was “pure and poetic.” 
So she enlisted his firm, Arba, to “create 
and invent”—as long as an open living 
plan and a space to practice yoga were part of the deal. Following Jacquot’s basic 
brief, the architects chose northern 
pine to frame the two-bedroom structure, 
untreated larch wood for the cladding 
and window framing, ash for the ground floor, and spruce for the attic.

The modest structure is heated by a wood stove, uses a solar vacuum 
tube for hot water, and recycles rainwater 
to run the washing machine and toilet. 
Consequently, the house is low-emission, and for its remaining energy needs, it’s linked to a 100 percent renewable grid supplied by the French company Enercoop.

“Our attitude integrates humility, compactness, smoothness, reduced scales, and respect for the existing vegetation,” Barache’s partner, Sihem Lamine, says of the design. “Our process is to create buildings while stripping the architecture from every arrogant gesture toward its environment.”

 

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