Paris – Nestled among the trees, this Parisian residence breaks through its shell and is ready to soar. At least, that’s what the exterior evokes at first glance. Villa S, designed by Jakob + MacFarlane, boasts the latest technological advances as it sits proudly on the edge of the Bois de Boulogne.
Conceived as a home for an active family, the four-storey house plays with the idea of layers, going from a central circulation core ornamented by a full-height wooden library, to the interior spaces, and finally the interstitial spaces created by the exterior shell. Upon entering, a spacious living room greets visitors and leads them to an extensive exterior terrace. Within the armature, interior spaces look out on the surrounding greenery.
Oddly shaped terraces form between the interior and the skeleton. In the lower levels, there is a wine cellar, a gym, a pool and a spa, lit by skylights embedded in the garden. These subterranean levels are connected to an existing late-19th-century house at the rear of the property that was kept (as a guest house) while demolishing the previous houses on the lot.
The shell is encased in a structure of steel tubes, covered by aluminium panels, and is reminiscent of a tree’s growth pattern, fracturing away to create intricate negative spaces. Besides the exoskeleton, technology is also omnipresent in the house: it uses geothermal energy for cooling and heating, and the latest security and mechanical controls enable the owners to stay connected even while they’re away.
We were immediately attracted to the trees and used them as inspiration for the tubular structure
The architecture firm founded by Dominique Jakob and Brendan MacFarlane embodies all things conceptual and poetic through its particular use of quirky geometries, colours and technology. Villa S portrays how the firm maintains its position as an innovator on the French architectural scene. ‘It’s a really great context, very much loaded in modernist architecture, full of experimental houses and an extended forest-like landscape,’ explains Brendan MacFarlane.
‘We were immediately attracted to the trees and used them as inspiration for the tubular structure. And the project pursues the architectural history of radical housing, as the continuity of this tradition in this particular neighbourhood was important to us.’ The house could even be seen as their own conceptual homage to Art Nouveau, in which the marriage between machine and organic form is interpreted once more.
This piece was originally featured on Mark 71. You can purchase a copy here.