architecture: Jardiniers du chef residence

original strawbale house design

sketch of new dining and living hall of strawbale and post and beam structure

aerial view of the farm

A new addition to a rural home designed in strawbale. The house is part of a farm that grows gourmet organic vegetables and greens year long which are shipped to high-end restaurants on the east coast.

Fitting with the scale of the existing house, the new wing steps down on the site to face south, away from the main road, and overlooks the farm. At the ground level, the new dining and living hall are one large open space with french doors leading out to a stone and wild grass terrace. This communal room is designed to have a welcoming grandeur for food tastings and receiving the farm’s clients and visiting chefs. Upstairs, three new bedrooms have views over the farm. The older house is renovated to accommodate the existing kitchen, bathrooms, new mudroom and office.

The connection between the old and new structures was key to the design. On the ground level the connection provides a new central entrance and large hallway for the family’s daily return the from field, and a more formal arrival for the farm’s clients. The foyer gives access on one side to the large new hall and on the other to a new mudroom and the kitchen in the existing structure. At the upper level the connection becomes a small and intimate transition between structures.

The original house, from 1870, was renovated in the 1980s and later acquired by the current family to be able to live on the land of their agricultural business. The family requested a strawbale extension as an ecological and aesthetic alternative in this rural setting.
The strawbale 14inch envelope was to stand independent from the post and beam structure. As strawbale construction is stacked the openings became tall vertical elements. By setting house lower that existing, a monumental yet modest elegance is achieved reminiscent of Tuscan and French provincial farm houses. The plasticity of the strawable and heated clay-concrete floor allowed for rounded corners softened edges complemented by log columns.

The family decided to modify the design when building the project years later. The strawbale was replaced by standard framing with wood siding, and glass surfaces were reduced.

modified design by clients of south facade

modified design by clients

connection between two structures on upper level

upper bedroom in new wing

clients picture of the 1870 original farm house