The house on a podium
The result of a meticulous renovation project, this single-family dwelling consists of a clean, essential, almost archetypal architectural volume that maintains the authentic simplicity of an old country home. The house is located in a rural, agricultural setting in the Loire valley, where castles, vineyards and historic gardens emerge from a landscape that has formed over the centuries in an inseparable fusion of nature and culture. In keeping with the local architectural tradition, the building consists of a long single volume divided into ground floor and attic with a pitched plain-tiled roof.
The renovation project focused on functional optimisation and sober use of colour and materials, with no attempt at decoration. The key feature of the project is the hewn natural stone plinth that extends along the front of the house. While visually striking (creating the effect of a podium’ that appears to raise the house within the landscape), above all it offers simple solutions to a number of functional criteria: it levels out the slight natural slope of the land; it provides insulation from damp and humidity; it creates a subtle balance between natural and artificial elements; it serves as a continuous external walkway extending around the house (two French windows and the main entrance door open onto it); and through simple variations in width it creates a terrace that looks out onto the garden, but without the visual encumbrance of a parapet.
The dry natural stone used for the plinth is a further reference to the area’s rural construction traditions, while the material chosen for the surface is two-centimetre-thick porcelain tile (Stone Mix series from Italgraniti, 60×60 cm size, colour quartzite grey). This material’s enormous resistance to mechanical stresses and the elements makes it ideal for outdoor use, while its varied colour tones and surface texture enable it to blend in perfectly with the natural stone.
Italgraniti, Stone Mix
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): ≤ 0,1%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): compliant
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): ≤ 150 mm3
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): compliant
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant