Building on a lake surrounded by vineyards in the South of France is a challenge. In a magical and untouched place like the Mediterranean maquis, nature is the only protagonist of the scene. The imperative for the architect remains the absolute camouflage with the existing landscape. Clients have envisioned this eco-lodges project choosing as their site an incredible fishing reserve in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, a few kilometers away from Avignon.
10 suites, simple but sophisticated, evoke primitive constructions in lake reeds – floating on the water like rafts, on pilotis along the banks like real palafitte or underground, like a troglodyte dwelling, the eco-lodges of the Grands Cépages rise along the lake of La Lionne, privileging the most particular and sought-after view for each one, always preserving the privacy of the inhabitants.
The architecture of the lodges dialogues perfectly with the lake reeds, taking up the vertical and elegant upward momentum and then rationalising their arrangement, much more geometric, regular and repetitive. In this way, the hut remains hidden by a vegetation filter – like a light screen – that, in addition to being the same structure as the parapets and the pergola, filters the direct view on the terraces of each lodge.
The texture of these vertical screens is of different densities and at the same time allows to shelter from the sun and the wind.
The changes of the seasons and the hours of the day constantly transform the presence and the dynamics of the hut with the landscape. With leafy trees, the architecture integrates with the landscape in a perfect game of camouflage. In winter instead, with the earth and the lake gathered under a blanket of snow, the vertical lines of the battens are reflected on the water. During the day, the experience inside the suite is a play of light and shadow with the sun filtering through the screening, projecting motifs always moving on the floor. Random gaps provide abstract images of vegetation, lake and sky. After sunset, the effect is reversed, immersed in darkness and illuminated only by the moon, the hut evokes a lantern, radiating the internal golden light between the wooden slats.
In order to simplify the unforeseen in a remote site, the project was largely prefabricated in a wood workshop in the Pyrenees. The components were numbered, dismantled and rebuilt on site in three months. Prefabrication reduced production costs and labour costs during installation, impacting the landscape as little as possible.