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Project: Private Garden | Location: Côte d'Azur | Budget: Undisclosed | Amenities: Guest House, Swimming Pool, Landscaping | Phase: Planning

This scheme is in essence a direct response to a problem, or rather a series of conflating issues found on this unique piece of land.  Positioned high on a edge of the mountain range behind the Côte d’Azur, near the source of the river Cagnes, this steeply sloping site suffers from compound issues that serve to create existential risks for the client's home, an existing Modernist Villa constructed in the 1960’s.  The increasing frequency of unusual weather events in the area, including storms and intense rainfall have undermined the structural integrity of the landscape and original retaining walls on the site.  The summer storms of 2020 critically damaged the structural systems retaining the landscape around the villa, placing it at risk of damage from further events, including the elevated seismic activity found on the Côte d’Azur.

 

The design envisages a series of large retaining walls, programmed with additional functions to better manage the issues the site presents.  Two large stormwater basins serve to collect surface water for reuse, a large photovoltaic array generates power for the villa, and feeds back into the grid.  A new planting scheme serves to protect and enhance the biodiversity and aesthetic qualities of the site, while the material details of the retaining wall, faced in rammed concrete (a contemporary form of the pisé method) are intended to create a harmony with the immediate environment and coherence with the original modernist house.  A complex series of staircases and passageways around and along the steep topography of the site allow greater ease of access to its extremities, and rigorous following of the existing landscape features generating an unusual but controlled formal language.  The scheme protects and enhances the qualities of the site, while ensuring that fundamental structural issues are addressed for the future.