Villa Bloch
by Nicolas Dorval-Bory Architects and VORBOT

Villa Bloch is an artist residency project in the old house of Jean-Richard Bloch, completed in 2019 and designed by Nicolas Dorval-Bory and VORBOT.

The City of Poitiers wanted to transform the property of the writer and intellectual Jean-Richard Blocc, known as "La Mérigote", into a place of residence for artists.

Bloch (1884-1947) was a French critic, novelist and playwright. The project’s objective was to pay homage to his memory and to freedom of expression, an idea he defended all his life.

Located in Poitiers, France, the intervention began with the analysis of the architectural potential of the existing situation, with the idea of revealing what was already functioning well.

Poitiers is a well-known and classic provincial city and capital of the Poitou area of western France. It is a historic city and traditional stopping spot on the route from Paris to Bordeaux that conserved much of its old world charm.

Looking specifically for a particular light, between natural and artificial, the French practices created here a new relationship between the outside and the inside.

The central part of the house was the damaged central stairs. The architects used this opportunity to convert this specific space into a radically different one that could benefit the rest of the rooms.

A dark and narrow staircase in poor conditions indicated the separation between the oldest part of the house and its extension which occurred in the 30's.

A notably narrow 6m high, bright space with vivid and changing light between the apartments of the artists provides the spaces with specific light conditions.

From this bright space, three internal windows –second jours– were designed in each of the three writer's studios, offering specific atmospheric conditions to each room.

Second Jour is an architectural concept that defines the entrance of sunlight into one room through another.

Two of the studios in the oldest part of the house were organised along a structural cross-wall to let the light from those “second lights” flow through the rooms.

The almost symmetrical spaces were designed with symmetrical strategies: high ceilings, reclaimed artifacts and fixtures, and open bathrooms.

Their colors balance their natural orientations: the south one (naturally warmer) features green tiling, while the north one (cool natural light) has reddish tiling and roughcast.

The specific relationship between the inside and the outside of the house, with a beautiful park but limited windows, led the architects to the idea that the house was still a shelter, and each window a filter from the outside world.

Authors Nicolas Dorval-Bory Architectes + VORBOT
Location Poitiers, France
Year 2019
Client Mairie de Poitiers
Surface 440 sqm

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a project powered by Itinerant Office

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