La Mothe Chandeniers

La Mothe Chandeniers

Location:  La Mothe Chandeniers, France
Client:  Young Architecture Competitions
Status:  Competition (Common Ruins)
Typology:  Transformation of a castle & its surrounding into a tourist-accommodation facility
Area:  160ha
Team:  Armelle Breuil
Partners:  Asya Güney
Environmental approachAutonomous housing, permaculture garden, permaculture economic

Dartagnans launched together with Young Architects a competition to revive through tourism the castle of La Mothe Chandeniers and it surroundings. The domain lies in one of the most historical places of France, la Vallée de la Loire. Not only known for its castles, this region of France is recognised for its wines and gastronomy. Our proposal is an ecosystem where the visitor can experience another type of holidays. S/he will be able to stroll through the edible park, see different cultivated plot, eat at the local restaurant, bicycle to envoy a local low-tech spa; visit the ruins of the castle and even sleep over in one of the autonomous villas. Once back in their daily life, the visitors might dream of a slower life, based on using as little resources as possible.

The edible park

To connect La Mothe to wine and gastronomy was the aim, accomplished by the creation of an edible park. The tradition of the french garden is modernised: vegetables replace flowers, goats & sheep replace statues, attics replace towers and the flat landscape is reorganise so that water can irrigate the whole farm. Permaculture is a word made up of the two words ‘permanent’ and ‘agriculture. It is a system that works at any scale. Its concept is simple: to create a culture that can endure and thrive for generations to come. The ethics of permaculture can be summarise as: care for the planet, care for people and fair share -which involves returning surplus to the system.In the park, different scales are super imposed: zones from the most used to the less, guilds of vegetables helping one another, developed all year long; villas with a clear orientation & taking the maximum advantage of the natural elements.

The villas

The villas are simple modules, easy to extend, placed on poles to have the smallest footprint possible. In wood and almost similar, their main feature the module in-between the bedroom and the self sufficient bathroom. Once fire with a fireplace to warm the winter, once earth, that can be harvested and invite to meditation; once a bridge connecting to the water, both a river and a bassin. This module is made of recycled polycarbonate, which will let it glow at night.

The castle

Minimum intervention aimed in the castle: three elements are added, roof, ramp and deck. To not build is also an architectural gesture. The roof is a timber lattice structure, mimicking the original roof of the castle. it shelters the ruin as well as enabling a framework for plants to grow on ramp connects the different levels of the castle, expanding and shrinking, revealing the hidden surfaces of the castle. A continuous strip give visitors an uninterrupted experience. Strategically positioned decks around the castle allow visitors to observe the architecture and creates public gathering spots.