A Prefab House Near Paris Is Designed to Be Bright and Open

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By Michele Koh Morollo
This prefabricated home in France was built to embrace the neighborhood.

Along a tree-lined street in the small community of Marly-le-Roi near Paris, most of the homes have high fences on both sides, which hide and isolate neighbors from each other. But the owners of this 1,561-square-foot, three-level CLT prefab home wanted a more open atmosphere, as well as a better visual and spatial connection with its surroundings.

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Construction regulations in Marly-le-Roi don't allow houses to open up towards each other, so Paris-based practice Karawitz Architecture positioned the house near the front of the street and created an underground level of steel and concrete that essentially opens up the frontage, creating an almost cave-like entry point that begins on street level.

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Pre-grayed larch cladding wraps around the frame of the house, all the way up to the rafters. People walking by can look in at the garden through a perforated galvanized-steel fence along the pavement.

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The underground level serves as a carport and storage area for firewood.

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The ground floor is comprised of three linked spaces: the kitchen, living room, dining area. The connected sections are organized around a central fireplace that provides heating to the energy-efficient home. 

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A carved staircase made out for a single piece of prefabricated steel divides the kitchen and living room. 

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From a crossing in the living space, two steps lead up to a large terrace, which cantilevers above the underground carport and looks out to the street. 

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Bedrooms with high windows that face skyward are located on the upper level for privacy. 

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Blurring the boundaries between private and public, the house removes traditional "fences" to create a home that's visually welcoming with a bright and open feel.

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Project Credits:

-Architecture, interior design, and landscape design: Karawitz Architecture

-Contractor: Sacet

-Structural engineer: Ingénierie Bois

-Civil engineer: Solares Bauen

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