The Quiet House by ARTELANO is all about context. It’s stark white stucco siding is set plainly against the rustic French countryside in which it resides – choosing to be an undefined architectural object within a historic setting that is as stunning as it is unusual. It is mostly introverted, only peaking out around the corner to appreciate the view, and creates a staggering sense of isolation that allows visitors to view its interior beauty in a self-contained vacuum. This removal of context is what makes entering and leaving this small home such an abrupt and disorienting experience.
The structure pays homage to traditional Mediterranean cottages, but adds its own contemporary flair. The plan is segmented into four zones that are pulled apart to create staggered gabled roofs and interior courtyard areas. Each living space is defined by this shift, and has it’s own private exterior space that is open to the sky but little else. This simple planning decision lends to many organizational opportunities, and add up to a floor plan that feels simultaneously protected and exposed.
Where the front of the home is completely closed off to the exterior – save for a hidden entry corridor – the rear is open to the landscape via a series of massive glazed openings. These openings can be concealed to provide shade and privacy to the interior by ornate operable screens that speak to the traditional textiles of the region.
The interior material selection is just about as reserved as the monochromatic expression surrounding the exterior. White walls and ceilings ensure each interior space feels bright and airy even when not presented with a view outside. The kitchen cabinets feature a light-colored wood that doesn’t distract the eye, but adds enough textural variety so as not to be monotonous.
All of these decisions do reduce color, texture, and form to its purest and most elemental form are made to reinforce the power and beauty of the surrounding countryside. The greens become greener, the blues bluer, and the experience then hinges on what nature provides rather than what the architect does.
ARTELANO has designed a perfect residential object placed in an even more perfect French setting. It is considerate, provocative, and utterly unusual, but manages to feel completely at home within the context of what it is aiming to do.
Photography: Marie-Caroline Lucat