“The best preventive remedy to aging is architecture” – Maxime Laroussi, Urban Agency
How to design and build a project that will take few decades to complete “on time” for its owner retirement plan? In this project, aging and weathering serve as a critical design tool for thinking about how architecture might intercept the changing state of weathering on site.
On a sloping rural site with views over the land, the form and orientation of an existing cottage generates two further, similar buildings, which offer a more complete in-habitation of the ground. The first, a south-facing bedroom emerges from the hill; the second, a bathroom with double height shower of traditional Moroccan construction is largely contained within it. The three buildings are connected by a subterranean roof-lit corridor whose walls retain the earth. These are barns, entirely made out of in situ concrete (walls and roofs) and finished with a natural rust iron pigments usually used for gardening, making reference in color and form to vernacular construction.The barn buildings found alongside stone farm cottages in Ireland are typically made from rusted corrugated steel, so we were also influenced by this as well as by the work of Brazilian artist, Jose Bechara, who uses oxidation as a medium in his paintings.
The concrete was cast in situ using wooden boards that have left the texture of their grain on the surfaces. The boards run vertically, so when rain falls on the building the pattern of the wood is emphasized.