An intimate 'fortified cavern' in the french alps is built with the protection of a fort

clara copiglia, benjamin lagarde, tim cousin
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In the mountainous, densely wooded region of haute-savoie in the east of france, clara copiglia, benjamin lagarde, and tim cousin construct their fortified cavern france-based pavilion.

upon designing the cabin the team embarked on an investigation of the building typology of the ‘childhood hut.’ their investigation revealed that the hut has two fundamental qualities: domesticity and fortification. the cabin type is a place which is inherently familiar while serving to protect one from an inhospitable nature. these contracting conditions lie at the essence of the design. the conditions are exaggerated and formalized to become a six square-meter cabin with the intimacy of a boudoir and the protection of a fort.

the team sited the cabin pavilion inside the walls of the fort de tamié — a military fortress built in 1872 which overlooks and once defended the albertville valley. upon approaching the fortified cabin, the structure first appears to visitors as a mysterious black monolith hovering among the vegetation. as the observer gets closer, a multidirectional pattern of woodgrain reveals itself through the dark burnt wood of the facades. this pattern is the expression of the cluster of prefabricated boxes which makes up the whole. while these boxes all vary in dimension, the differences in depth is expressed only on the interior of the hut. this condition lends a rich topological space inside the primitive volume.

upon entering the hut by way of a ladder and through a heavy door which must be pulled open, visitors discover a cavernous, archaic wooden space that opens to the wooded landscape. the designers elaborate: ‘it offers a comforting and introspective troglodyte hermitage. the occupants of the cavern can examine the close surroundings through narrow windows in the thickness of the walls, allowing them to see without being seen and thus comforting their privileged position.’

An intimate 'fortified cavern' in the french alps is built with the protection of a fort