François Gena

François Gena

Herresbarn: Toward a rural identity. ULiège (Belgium)

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The creation of a collective infrastructure including a multi-purpose hall, a small business center and a local shop takes part in a global reflection on the future of the village of Herresbach and the valuation of its landscape characteristics: integration of new functions adapted to the size of the village and able to guarantee its attraction and its future autonomy, adoption of a sensitive approach regarding the fragile balance between nature and its shaping by the human being, recourse to a respectful architectural vocabulary of the typo-morphological and landscape specificities of the context.

Vernacular, the project anchors in a culture and a peasant know-how and applies the observation of the local architecture.

The implementation integrates the privileged relationships of the rural farms with the landscape and the streets. Perpendicular to the public road the building offers a visual opening towards the landscape background and defines the village square like farmyards.

The expressive strength of the local hangars leads the architectural vocabulary. With their elementary shape, their basics openings and their rough materiality, these farm constructions enjoys a strong presence and relationship with the nature. The project uses these characteristics to define its collective identity and to stay aligned with the village specifics. The set up of the volumes naturally follows the topography of the site and strengthens its specificities. The entrance treatment interprets the farm sheds. The outside materials put the building in temporal dynamics. The galvanized steel of the roof oxidizes, the cladding in larch acquires a patina, mosses adhere gradually to the rough concrete of the basement. The dark tints of these materials contrast with the domestic constructions in white plaster.

The internal composition applies the spatiality of the barns: spatial fluidity and flexibility, expression of the structure, strong presence of wood, sweetness of the penetrating natural light.









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