Garrigue GuesthouseAn Artists' Studio Pitched with the Hill

Completed 2003
FĂ©lines-Minervois, Languedoc, France
689 sqft GIA
1 bed + Artist's Studio
Blee Halligan

This small artist's studio and guesthouse is located next to an old watermill in the Languedoc region of the South of France. The existing building was on a steeply sloping hillside and the new accommodation responded to this steep geography in both its internal planning - a stair connecting two levels of the hillside - and its monopitch form, which is set at the same angle as the hill.

The zinc and cedar clad building is part-buried into the ground at the lower level, where a bedroom is located. Above, it provides a light-filled studio for the large, creative family of painters, photographers, designers and architects. Opening windows are carefully positioned to ensure excellent levels of cross ventilation during the warm summer months. Windows at differing levels scatter the staircase elevation to ensure each member of the family (tall and small) can capture views of the surrounding mountains on ascent.

A stair connects two levels of the hillside, and its monopitch form is set at the same angle as the hill.

The colour palette used matches that of the surrounding landscape. At the upper level a gold leaf lined window cill faces south, bouncing a constant sunset light into the room during the winter months. At the lower level, a rusty corten steel staircase extends out into the landscape - folded to form a bridge over an ancient watercourse to the mill. The project has been widely publicised and was a cover feature of an international architecture magazine.