On a tree-lined street in Marly-le-Roi, a small community very close to Paris where high fences traditionally isolate each house and its garden, the French studio KARAWITZ has designed a house which reaches out to its neighbors, creating a feeling of urbanity previously lacking on these parts.
Because urban policy does not allow one house to open up to another to achieve the openness effect, this house is moved forward its parcel to open widely onto the street. A perforated galvanized steel fence allows the passers-by to look in at the garden, which actually runs under the house that seems to levitate on its plot. It is also an invitation to enter: the access is made from this underground level beneath the actual house, where the firewood is stored and the car parked.
The layout of the ground floor is characterized by the fluidity of its three spaces. They are organized around the central fireplace that alone endures the entire heating of this passive house. The kitchen and an intimate living room are located on either side of the carved staircase of a single piece of prefabricated steel, while two steps higher a living room crossing opens onto a vast terrace with a cantilever onto the street. This house blurs the boundaries between private and public to the benefit of user-friendly rooms that also open onto the outside.
The privacy of the inhabitants is maintained in the upper level rooms by high windows, which direct the view skywards. Throughout the house, raw materials (steel and concrete) are left exposed, creating a sense of authenticity. Everything is a pretext to awaken the curiosity of the passers-by, the pre-grayed larch cladding that envelops the whole thing right up to the rafts, thanks to the absence of covers, to the fold of the main facade – which opens a perspective towards the garden. The house really does seem to have achieved the lofty dream it was targeting with such clarity.