When a photographer specializing in architectural work approached Studio Razavi Architecture for a summer home and studio, he envisioned a wood-clad construction on a small plot of land in Brittany, France. What he got was wildly different from his proposal—yet perfectly suited to his needs.
The residence is a striking geometric form made of two white volumes, one of which is the living space, and one of which serves as the photographer’s studio. The entryway is a compressed space that gradually fans upward as it feeds into the main room, building in volume and light. "We knew we were taking a risk," says Alireza Razavi, director of Studio Razavi Architecture. The client had requested wood to give the house more scale, but Razavi encouraged him to instead sculpt the landscape through structural means. "It won him over, the idea that you celebrate a small plot of land by creating an experience, and that architecture provides a richer space."
Likewise, the constellation of openings in the house both responds to and enhances the surroundings. The home sits next to a farm, which provides an ever-changing field environment. "Because of these vast expanses of wheat, there was a risk of the landscape becoming bland," says Razavi. He decided against oversized panes of glass. "By discreetly framing it, we brought more attention to it by essentially photographing the landscape at different angles. You’re rediscovering the details and poetics of it." To illustrate his point, he showed his client Card Game, Zushi, Kanagawa by Japanese photographer Shomei Tomatsu, an example of composition elevating a mundane scene.
"By discreetly framing [the landscape], we brought more attention to it...rediscovering the details and poetics of it." - Alireza Razavi
In the home and studio, the windows are also strategically placed to capture light as it evolves throughout the day, creating a changing interior environment that is conducive to the client’s work.