Paris Heritage Building Receives a Brilliant Modern Extension

by in Architecture

This 1930's family house located in the Houilles suburb of Paris, France, has been beautifully brought to life by architect Florence Gaudin

The clients were immediately seduced by the garden's orientation and its impressive dimensions, as it seemed perfect for a couple with three children. Lately, they discovered the house was too small for the family and the architect managed to build a bigger extension.

The existing house was preserved but its surface was tripled in Gaudin’s new project. This way, the extension increased the garden’s value creating a new relationship between the inside and the outside areas.

The extension was conceived as a distinct contemporary building in dialogue with the existing house and the local building tradition.

The house has features and proportions which are to be found in any family house from the 1930's era. Despite its state of degradation, the original architectural language is still intact.

The modern added extension consists of an original form attached to the pre-existing house, showing a contemporary free adaptation of the house pattern. It is used as a mean for two major purposes:

Firstly, the project keeps the pre-existing house intact, preserving its own original typology.
On the other hand, it generates two specific, independent entities with their own volumes and design expressions while creating the in-between part as an architectural transition space.

This is the place where the two worlds meet together and create the unification of the architectural pieces of the entire new building, in terms of linking rooms together, allowing them to combine and enhancing the use of the different spaces of the different parts of the building.

The technical value of the projects consists of ensuring an independent structure for both building parts, avoiding the under-building works and the differential settling of the terrain under the construction.

Between these two different parts of the project, lies a vast space that shelters the common life rooms of the entire building (living-room, dining-room, kitchen, library, music room, vertical circulations) enlightened by the surrounding sunset light.

Furthermore, it's in that very spot where two different construction eras meet and two generations connect.

The typical architecture of the pre-existing house develops itself through this linking space and inverts its outer facade to create the inner surface of the wall that becomes the surrounding element of the common living rooms inside the extension. 

This mirror effect of exchanging surfaces, materials, and architectural vocabularies tells the whole history of this family project as a living element that evolves through time, space and other abstract dimensions.

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