Aug 10, 2020 / Architecture
MA by Extra Medium

MA is a minimal home located in France, designed by Extra Medium. At the time, a small farmhouse sitting in the forest nearby had been weathering away for more than a decade. It stood on its hill, fading comfortably into the landscape. When the architect’s parents approached him to rebuild it, they were sitting within eye-sight of the dilapidated structure. It was still soft in its ruinous state, a reminder of the qualities of its surroundings. They had spoken about the project before but the timing had not been right.

That summer, and throughout the two years that followed, he worked to bring it back to life – infusing it with the monastic qualities that make this valley so special. Respectful of its surroundings the house was designed to be an intimate refuge buried in the hills – one that would respect the site and the architectural history of the region. The site itself is very intimate. The house sits at the base of a small, tree-covered hill in the middle of the French country-side.

When summer comes around it gets progressively nestled in the forest, without ever losing views of the vineyard below. The existing structure was carefully dismembered in phases. The footprint and envelope were revised but stayed very much in keeping with the proportions of the old farmhouse. More than a simple reconstruction, this house was imagined as a renewal, emphasizing the house’s quirks and lending voice to careful craftsmanship.

They took cues from surrounding architecture and amplified them. Most walls are finished with “chaux”, a local lime plaster that leaves the surface textured and uneven. The casework was drawn plainly and is almost entirely carved from regionally sourced oak. The tiles on the roof are “tuiles anciennes”, some more than 30 years old, ranging in color from green to red.

Photography by Simone Bossi