Damp Upper Normandy, a workingman’s land of ragged rains and rapeseed fields, is not the first place that comes to mind for an exercise in off-the-grid living. This isn’t the Normandy of well-heeled Parisian weekenders and American cineasts who flock to nearby seaside resorts, with their saltwater spas, annual film festival, and champagne brunches. It’s a farming land dotted by modest prefab commuter clusters, rusty grain silos, and cows of the white, tawny, and Rorschach varieties. The climate is intemperate; winters are long, summers fickle. But it is exactly what Jean-Baptiste Barache was looking for to undertake this experiment: to elaborate on an architecture seeking to integrate us with, not isolate us from, the elements.
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