Maison(ou)Verte_Rurale is a 700sf (70m2) tiny’ish house on the outskirts of Bordeaux for a young family fleeing city life. The project finds itself in a relatively dense development of unremarkable houses, but situated on the edge of a nature preserve rich with flora and fauna. The soil is thick clay so the building is a light timber construction that hovers over the land on deep, slender piles. The project is a minimum shelter emerging from and anchored to the adjacent forrest: a unique dwelling experience, a counter example on the edge of nature and contemporary blur.
The building is conceived as a timber box, every surface finding its appropriate species, floors are oak, walls and ceilings are spruce, and siding larch. The roof is planted with native vegetation to provide a blanket of warmth in the winter and evaporative cooling in the summer. Large openings offer a continuity of experience from inside to out, and from outside to in.
Because of the project’s proximity to a natural preserve and because of the residents’ desire for non-toxic living, the project is nearly entirely bio-sourced. Industrial construction products were nearly eliminated. Masonry elements are fly-ash based, locally sourced aggregate concretes. All timber expresses a strategy to minimise industrial processes and waste : structure is precisely engineered sections, floors are unplanned, and siding is rough-sawn and undressed. The home’s unique heating source is a wood-stove.
The Maison(ou)Verte_Rurale questions the ways we build, the ways of responding to our basic human needs, and our impact on the world around us: a modest quest for an architecture of frugality, elegant in its economy.