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The Cabin - h2o architectes

The Cabin - France

h2o architectes


france   40under40


h2o architectes is an office of creative architectural design based in Paris and lead by Charlotte Hubert, Jean-Jacques Hubert and Antoine Santiard. 
h2o works on a wide scope of projects and scales including historical monuments and sites, public spaces, architecture and design.
In every projects and at different scales the office intends to combine a controled duality between a determinated possibility of uses and some situations offering possibilities for appropriation. These somewhat uncharted spaces allow for the invention of any kind of practices and customs, and therefore, for the modification of the individual’s place in a more and more controlled social space. 
The office gained an international reputation through a series of cutting edge contextual innovative projects of different scales. Widely published they reveal a great formal sensitivity directly linked to usage, material, durability and habitable space.   
h2o architectes is today one of the leading practices of the new generation of architects. It has been awarded the Najap Prize 2008 (a recognition of a selection of young European architects organised by French Ministry of Culture). The office has also been selected by the international magazine Wallpaper* for their world architects directory 2009, a selection of the best 30 emerging practices. The office won the international award Total Housing in 2010 with Chatou and Front and Back projects exhibited in Storefront for Art & Architecture NYC.
Recently the office has been shortlisted for the First Building Award 2012 with a 20 flats building in Paris and won the National Award of Wood Construction - Interior 2014 with project The Cabin.

Charlotte Hubert 
Architect specialized in heritage monuments, she graduated in 2003 from the Ecole de Chaillot. She had previously gradued in 1999 from the Ecole d’architecture of Paris -Belleville. 
She founded h2o architectes with Jean-Jacques Hubert in 2005.
Prior to joining the studio, Charlotte Hubert was working at Bruno Decaris Architectes. She was in charge of listed project restauration in Haute-Normandie and Burgundy region. 
She is today teaching at the Ecole d’architecture of Nancy and is a member of the French National Commission for Historic Monuments in the contemporary intervention section.

Jean-Jacques Hubert
Jean-Jacques Hubert graduated as an architect from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’architecture of Nantes in 1999. He founded h2o architectes with Charlotte Hubert in 2005. 
Prior to joining the studio, Jean-Jacques Hubert was working at Bernard Tschumi Architectes. He was in charge of the Limoges Concert Hall and several international competitions. 
He has been teaching since 2006 at the Ecole Supérieure des Arts et des Techniques in Paris.  

Antoine Santiard
Antoine Santiard graduated as an architect from the EPF. Lausanne in 2001. He became a partner of h2o architectes in 2008. Prior to joining the studio, he was working at Bernard Tschumi Architectes. He was in charge of the Limoges Concert Hall and the Alésia Museum. 

He has been teaching from 2007 to 2010 at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture of Paris Malaquais and from 2010 to 2012 at Paris Val de Seine. He is currently teaching since 2012 at the GSAPP / Columbia University (NY/Paris Programm).

The Cabin

LocationAravis 520, Les Ménuires (73440), France
Teamh2o architectes 
Photo credits: Julien Attard

Our design team was invited to rethink a ski resort apartment in Menuires, France. Located at the far end of a building built in 1965, it has triple orientation that was not valued by the previous layout which was too segmented. The request was to realize the impossible  : increase the living space without touching the structure, create 2 bathrooms instead of the one existing, preserve the number of beds, 8 beds in 55m2, all while maintaining separate circultaions for each. 
To maximise the rather tight and constricted space, we chose to inverse the way of seeing it. Rather than trying to fit the furniture into the apartment, we decided to fit the apartment into the furniture  ! However absurd this may seem, it immediately alleviated all the constraints linked to laying out tight spaces. 
A large wooden curve runs through the entire space. It links all functions, creates a large living space and opens up the panoramic views on the mountains. This furniture-wall incorporates all the necessities of daily use interlocked into one another. Seating next to storage, stacked sleeping, a reading corner is attached to an interior window, the kitched is back to back with a bathroom. It is the furniture element that defines the space. It is no longer cumbersome, rather it frees up a generous space around it and maximises it’s primary functionalities.  
The secondary system allows to privatise sleeping areas with curtains that roll into the existing central wall. The central space is all white, leading into the matching wrapping terrace. The interior atmosphere is inspired by the mountain and cabin feel, reintepreted in a contemporary manner. The fun interlocking system is detailed into the minute  such as sleeping spaces that one must climb into it to discover a reading lamp, a small tablette, storage and a comfortable and peaceful sleeping nook.  
The entire installation is treated with a single and unique material, wood. Light-coloured birch plywood for the interior spaces and American walnut plywood for the curved wall. 
To accentuate the unity of the lived-in furniture-wall, every aspect of it is detailed from within. From the exterior, nothing denotes the destiny of this fun cabin in the mountains! 

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