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Malakoff copper house, France

V.O Architectes

This private house with a back garden was built between August 2010 and September 2011 in the centre of Malakoff, a 'village' town adjoining Paris. The town is well preserved which allowed great autonomy in the choice of building materials and colours. Many buildings there are indeed quite daring.

The main characteristic of the house: it is industrial and full of light. Some windows have been mounted on the ground to blur the lines between the inside and the outside. The interior finishings have deliberately been left rough (ceilings, electricity, stairways...). The copper cladding was positioned vertically to accentuate the industrial character of the façade.

Facade: both the layout of the house and its construction principle allowed us to partition the facade facing the street into two very distinct zones, each with a different feel. The first drawings of the facade did not include cladding but a traditional coating. But once the decision had been made to use glass panels all the way up to the landing, the choice of cladding became evident.

The choice of natural copper became evident due to its easy installation, longevity (in comparisons to wood claddings), and interesting evolution over time, going from flamboyant orange to grey green. The colours of the quicklime (in front as well as the back) were chosen to coincide with the evolution of the copper. The main criteria were:

- To avoid making the 3-storey townhouse look like a small office block, by incorporating a precious metal that harmonises with the surrounding structure

- To find a traditional lining that goes well with the quicklime coating of the rest of the facade

- To choose a lining whose aging cycle will be worry-free rather than entail future maintenance.

The insulation of the house has been added from the outside on which lime plaster and mineral based paint have been added.

The back of the house includes an extension of the living room, in glass and copper, which goes into the garden. This volume is treated differently from the rest of the living space to ensure that it has a character of its own, both inside and out. The copper cladding of the back façade, in contrast to the front, was positioned horizontally, and its design is more 'flattering' appealing and traditional.

Total surface of natural copper cladding: 40m2

Surface of site: 230m2, usable floor space 160m2



Private dwelling
Completion date: 


Type of building: 
Copper used: 


Name, office: 
V.O Architectes
Address & description: 
8 ter rue JonquoyParis 75014Francevo.architectes@orange.fr



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