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Brauhouse, Villemoustaussou, Aude, SW France

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We are currently working on an exciting new-build 10 bedroom villa in the Domaine de Brau vineyards outside Carcassonne in SW France. Having undertaken a localised search and found the site for our Client, we also sourced a local ‘executive’ architect to look after construction and delivery under our design direction. Planned in two phases, the 520m2 Brau House consists of a 6 bed main house and pool, with a further phase of a 4 bed guest wing including a tennis court, 500m2 of landscape, with a separate drive.

The building is made up of three finger elements which separate out the requirements of the brief, with bedrooms on the upper floor and living areas below, cut into the ground. These elements grow out of the hillside, leading the eye round the site to the vineyards below and the mountains to north and south. From the driveway, the house is approached along a contour from which the ground plane extends as a giant roof-deck. This provides a viewing platform, shading the lower level, with rock stairs externally down to the living spaces and a sliding glass wall facing east. It opens onto a flowing terrace that holds a 16m infinity pool sheltered by the dramatically cantilevered Master Bedroom, with views out across the fields and mountainous landscape beyond.

Massive cyclopean walls and in-situ cast concrete are manipulated against a local crepi (lime render) over clay block walls, to yield an architecture that is contemporary but timeless: that converges with the weathered terrain, whilst achieving structural solidity, thermal mass and defence against termite attack. There is an interplay between the heaviness of these monumental walls and the light and space captured between them.

Designed to maximise thermal mass and benefit from partly digging into the hillside, ecologically-conscious choices include the clay-block wall system, PV and thermal-tube solar panels on the roof, and rainwater harvesting for grey-water re-use and irrigation.