A Mountain Hideaway Plants a Green Roof in the French Alps

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By Emily Shapiro / Published by Dwell
An innovative glass addition adds contrast to a timber mountain lodge in France.

The renovation of this residence, nestled high in the French Alps, is a tribute to the beauty of its natural surroundings. The structure was originally home to a mountain guide, but a Swiss couple, both art and design connoisseurs, have transformed it into a dramatic second home. The addition of a cantilevered glass-and-aluminum room integrates nature into the interior and contrasts with the original home’s timber construction, offering a distinct variation between public and private spaces. The low ceilings and warm wood walls of the original residence provide an ideal atmosphere for bedrooms and personal spaces, while the addition lends itself to social gatherings.

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Situated on a natural promontory in Coupeaux, France, the home’s plan and expansive windows open it to the beautiful surroundings outside.

Architect Renaud Chevallier made environmental-efficiency a priority during the redesign. By adding strong insulation, a large chimney, and wide windows on the south side, while protecting the space from north-facing openings, he insured thermal regulation and optimized solar gain. A green roof deck—the first of its kind in this part of France—was added to emphasize the contrast between the newer and older sections of the home.

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Privacy and respect for the natural environment was foremost in the new owners’ mind when conceiving the home’s redesign. The placement of the addition limits direct sightlines to neighbors and offers unbroken views of the surrounding area. The aluminum frame and glass walls create a light, airy atmosphere.

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A natural rock face supports the cantilevered addition from below, creating a fortress-like structure that sits lightly within the existing landscape. Neutral colors keep the home from standing out, while the glass reflects surrounding flora.

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The interior is furnished with contemporary pieces that don’t detract from views of the surrounding valley.

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Glass walls fence in an outdoor deck without obstructing spectacular views of the mountains and valley.

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At night, the exterior is lit with small LED bulbs for minimum impact. Steps are carved directly into the mountain landscape, leading visitors into one of the home’s two main entrances.

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Wood and stone elements add to the rustic atmosphere inside, resulting in a home that feels like a natural extension of the landscape.

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