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Project timeline

1998 – 1998


Private House

Location Change this

Cap ferret

Architect Change this


Anne Lacaton, Jean Philippe Vassal, Sylvain Menaud, Laurie Baggett, Emmanuelle Delage, Christophe Hutin, Pierre Yves Portier, David Pradel

Gross floor area Change this


Partners Change this

Structural engineers

Structural engineers

Specialist services
INRA (wood rheology)

Specialist services
Mr Moussion (phytosanitation consultant)

House in Cap Ferret Change this

Cap ferret, France
by Lacaton & Vassal Change this
1 of 28

Description Change this

Exposed to the southeast and long unoccupied, the terrain is one of the last remaining non-built plots on the immediate shoreline of Arcachon Bay. French architects Lacaton & Vassal were responsible for the design of this beach house.

Design with environment

A stretch of sand dune covered with arbutuses, mimosas and 46 pine trees rises then rapidly descends once more towards the Bay.

How does one preserve the dune and its vegetation, when building round and about means to cut down trees and even to build right on the ground?

To avoid the felling of pine trees and the clearing of the low vegetation of the arbutuses, whose impact, seen from the Bay, is particularly perceptible.
To raise the house above the ground in order to profit from the view.
To exclude the heavy earthworks which are particularly degrading for a ground surface of sand, twelve micro-piles are driven eight to ten meters deep. On top a metal frame, which creeps up between the trees, has been assembled.

The facade on the Bay side is open and glazed; the three others are more closed and intersected with transparent bays. The height beneath the platform is variable, but always sufficient to permit one to pass under it. Like the side facades, the underside consists of aluminium panels, creating an artificial sky which, because the undulations are perpendicular to the Bay, reflects its luminosity.

The pine trees are preserved, including those situated within the four walls of the building itself. These trees traverse the house in special holders adapted to their swaying, their growth and their maintenance in a good state of health.

Running along the edge of the beach, the traditional wooden retaining wall has been remade.


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