Timothee Mercier of studio XM has reconstructed an old and unlivable farm in the south of France, transforming it into a secluded country residence. Titled MA house, the dwelling is designed as an intimate refuge buried in the hills. Respectful of the site and the architectural history of the region, the new building has maintained the proportions of the old farmhouse in terms of its footprint and envelope.
My family bought land in South of France’s Vaucluse department in the early 2000s. At the time, a small farmhouse sitting in the forest nearby had been weathering away for more than a decade. It stood on its hill, fading comfortably into the landscape. What was left had a strong posture despite its lack of foundations.
When my parents approached me to rebuild it, we were sitting within eye-sight of the dilapidated structure. It was still soft in its ruinous state, a reminder of the qualities of its surroundings. We had spoken about the project before but the timing had not been right. That summer, and throughout the two years that followed, I worked to bring it back to life – infusing it with the monastic qualities that make this valley so special.
Respectful of the aesthetic constraints and wishes of the clients the house was designed to be a intimate refuge buried in the hills – one that would respect the site and the architectural history of the region. The existing structure was carefully dismembered in phases.
The footprint and envelope were revised but stayed very much in keeping with the proportions of the old farmhouse. More than a simple reconstruction, this house was imagined as a renewal, emphasizing the house’s quirks and lending voice to careful craftsmanship. Architects: Extra Medium; Area: 140 m²; Year: 2019; Photographs: Simone Bossi;