When asked about the name of his fledgling architecture collective, Studio 1984, cofounder Romain Gié replies with an Orwell-worthy "Big Brother is always watching." Despite that dystopian implication, however, the Parisian trio behind the firm believe in the power of thoughtful, responsible practices impacting the present—and future—for the better. "Social and environmental sustainability are linked and should be considered in the design of projects," Gié tells Co.Design.
The "nest" was their entry into a competition hosted by the Archi<20 Festival de L’Architecture earlier this year in Alsace, France, under the directive to create a simple habitat composed of natural components. "For us it is like a land art piece integrated into the rural landscape, using natural and ecological insulation from a playful point of view."
"All of our materials are recyclable and/or reusable," Gié says of the straw and timber unit. A variety of wood was selected for specific functions—Douglas for the frame, larch for the joinery, pine for the interior finishing, and acacia for foundations—but the main source of R&D was done surrounding the use and treatment of the straw. In addition to working out the most effective way to secure it to the structure itself, it was essential to create a strong squeeze between the bales in order to avoid thermal bridges—essentially heat loss between poor insulators—and unwelcome guests. "Rodents don’t live inside compressed bales, but do between them," Gié explains. "So if you compress all of them together, you’re safe."
The charmingly bare-bones unit took three months to design and three weeks to construct, and what it lacks in modern amenities and conveniences, it more than makes up for in sweet simplicity and a super-close relationship with the idyllic surrounds. The mini-unit is now owned by the House of Nature of Mutterscholtz, and plans are afoot to transform it into a public facility for kids who canoe and kayak in the nearby river.
(H/T Arch Daily)