The hillside town of Villeneuve-lès-Avignon enjoys splendid views across the Rhone valley towards the historic city of Avignon. Extensive terraced vineyards line the slopes, testifying to man’s presence down the centuries. So when architect Jean-Loup Patriarche was commissioned to build a private residence in this setting, blending with and not disrupting the landscape was a major concern.
The villa sits easily on the terraced slopes. The steel structural frame, onto which the other components have been fitted, required minimum foundations and disturbance to the surrounding area. The building itself is a parallelepiped, whose compact rectangular ground plan broadens out to a larger upper floor where the ample day zone continues onto large terraces and balconies running around the façade to form a distinctive architectural feature.
Crowning the building is a transparent metal structure with cantilevered brise-soleil brackets echoing the transparent metal grilles protecting the wood-floor balconies. The select construction materials blend throughout: steel, extensive glazing, especially on the upper floor, and large, heat-insulating terracotta cladding slabs, a traditional building material, here used to great effect in a modern context. Similarly, the terracotta roof tiles ease the insertion of this contemporary architecture into the landscape.
Inside, a metal staircase passes up through the middle of the house and the communal areas, which on both storeys occupy the full depth of the building while bedrooms, kitchen and services are placed on the perimeter.