Architects Milena Karanesheva and Mischa Witzmann, Karawitz explore the boundaries between public and private in a single-family home in Marly-le-Roi, France.
The house is located in a residential neighbourhood where tall hedges and walls isolate properties from one another , so that every home is a self-enclosed microcosm. The architects of Karawitz responded with a project that is meant to be urban. The lot is not enclosed with a wall, and the boundary of the property acts as a filter. A fence made of perforated steel panels creates a now you see it – now you don’t effect allowing passers-by to glimpse the garden of the home and the living room patio. Privacy is guaranteed in the bedrooms on the upper level by high windows: a solution devised to respond to a specific need, for the lot is narrow and under city building regulations there can be no windows overlooking neighbours’ property, so the side facing the road is the one used to provide light and air for the interiors.
The fluid layout of the ground floor is composed of three adjoining spaces organised around the central fireplace. Behind the fireplace is a sculptural staircase made out of a single piece of prefabricated steel. The principle of “not hiding” that inspires the project also determines the use of materials, bare concrete and steel.