Domaine Pierre Cheval
by Pierre-Arnaud Descôtes

The site originally offered a collection of vernacular architectures. Besides its central position in the village, the place also offers many perspectives onto the wine-growing landscape and the surrounding valley.

An abandoned house, an old chapel, a cellar, a series of steps forming a natural amphitheatre, old orchards and terraced gardens.

These architectures already had qualities which profoundly anchored them to the site. However, the existing relationship between these architectural elements and the surrounding landscape had been greatly altered.

Due to several transformations erected on site without any consultation.

The architects preferred to highlight the possibility of a place in accordance with the qualities of the landscape as well as the historical heritage, natural and human resources.

No big gestures are present here. Rather one can find the research of a common link between interior and exterior, a work on the treatment of a continuous ground, an archipelago of micro-interventions and devices.

Which answer to the complexity of the site, its existing morphology, and its potential of appropriation by visitors.

The chapel regains its autonomy and, thanks to the new plugged-in extensions, is assigned new uses.

Exhibition and banquet space, kitchen, storage, sanitary facilities and winter garden.

A new half-moon parvis redraws its silhouette, responding to the modern nature of the existing facade. The original openings are restored, while new ones are created, by imitation.

Old brick and stone, cinder blocks and concrete are covered with lime-wash. The cellar is rehabilitated and its new floor is extended to the plaza.

which allows the time traces to continue telling their story.

whose edges are now treated with several concrete sittings, guiding the visitors towards the interior of the site to embrace the whole picture.

The design uses sands from the local quarries, reused old granite paving stones, employs traditional lime-wash techniques and steel joineries to naturally ventilate the interior space.

In partnership with local companies and the municipality, they tried to find the most suitable means of construction so as to respond both to the scarcity of resources and the municipality’s limited budget.

In terms of the adjacent natural environs, they introduced indigenous vegetal plantations in harmony with the local ecosystem, and levelled the surrounding grounds mindful of the local geology and water flows.

Resulting from simple gestures only, the project of Domaine Pierre Cheval stands forward as an architectural manifestation of the ‘build-well’ culture, as an inseparable value to living a qualitative and enriching life.

Location Hautvillers (51), Cradle of Champagne
Author Pierre-Arnaud Descôtes + Jean-Benoît Vétillard, Associated architect
+ Léa Muller - Itinérances, Landscaper
Structure engineer Gecibat
Client City of Hautvillers
Cost 350 000 € ht
Surface Chapel 50 sqm + Outside spaces 2000 sqm
Year 2019
Photography Giaime Meloni

Square of traditional crafts in Varaždin

a project powered by Itinerant Office

subscribe to our newsletter

follow us