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John Bacon on Planned Giving

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Chandler McCoy on Why Less is More

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11 March 2022

Inside Iconic Houses - Tour of Maison Cazenave

Designed by Swiss Architect Hans Demarmels

 

Click on image to watch the Maison Cazenave Teaser or stream the recorded tour in our WEBSHOP.

Join us for another Inside Iconic Houses tour!
The private owners of Maison Cazenave gave the board members of the Iconic Houses Foundation a tour of their house, to get to know the architecture of this hidden gem. We recorded the tour and now we can share it with you! The restoration work is still in full swing, which makes it all the more special to see this unique house before the official tours start. In this house, light becomes the fourth dimension of architecture. Experience it yourself! Stream the tour here.

  • Maison Cazenave in summer.
  • Maison Cazenave, handcolored sketch of the western facade by architect Hans Demarmels, 1965
  • Maison Cazenave, restoration work.
  • Maison Cazenave, new window.
  • Maison Cazenave, render, Agence TaG - Thomas Guillenteguy Architecte.
  • Maison Cazenave in winter.
  • Maison Cazenave, Open Day February 2022.
  • Maison Cazenave in summer.
  • Maison Cazenave, handcolored sketch of the western facade by architect Hans Demarmels, 1965
  • Maison Cazenave, restoration work.
  • Maison Cazenave, new window.
  • Maison Cazenave, render, Agence TaG - Thomas Guillenteguy Architecte.
  • Maison Cazenave in winter.
  • Maison Cazenave, Open Day February 2022.

Maison Cazenave Back to its Original State
Maison Cazenave perches on the heights of the village of Lanneplaà, near Orthez in the Southwest of France. The new owners are restoring it to its original state. First organized visits by the regional architects association took place last February and regular visits every first Sunday of the month are scheduled for later this year.

This "habitable sculpture" of 300 square meters, designed by the Swiss architect Hans Demarmels (1931-2010), was built for Jean-Pierre Cazenave as a family residence. Jean-Pierre Cazenave, now 90 years old, was the owner of a family shoe manufacturing business with over 200 employees in nearby Orthez in the 1960s. In 1965, he was the client who commissioned an amazing architectural work on the hills overlooking Lanneplaà.

"Maison Cazenave is a key work of modernism from the middle of the last century and a house that is unique," is how Nadine Bueno, director of the Pavillon de l'Architecture in Pau, describes it. She organized visits through the vast building, currently under reconstruction, in February of this year. More than 80 people from various professions participated.

Brutalist art
"It's a work that continues to polarize today," says Michel Voëlin and his partner Jörn Wagenbach. Together, they discovered the house, were thrilled, and bought it in 2019. Admirers of Hans Demarmels' architecture, they took on the work of restoring the house to its original state. According to the style, the house currently presents itself as a brutalist work of art. The exterior is difficult to describe because it combines different building forms it is partly almost deconstructivist. The materials used for floors and walls are bare. The extensive living space is lit by immensely large windows - contrasting with the intimacy of the bedrooms. "It's a fantastic composition: the sun constantly bathes the house in light," the new owners enthuse. Additionally a solar system was installed on the flat roof.

Caused by the COVID lockdowns in the spring of 2020, the owners discovered the area and the region for themselves. During that time, they began deconstruction work with the goal of getting back to the original state as close as possible with the help of the architectural firm TAG from Habas. "It's a great opportunity for the house to have owners who appreciate the value of this architecture," says Jean-Pierre Cazenave, who offered them his help. Completion of all the custom work is scheduled for next summer. Already today, another use is planned, a kind of participatory bed & breakfast and regular visits every first Sunday of the month are planned to start in the course of this year.

About Hans Demarmels
Hans Demarmels (Zurich 1931-Zurich 2010) had an education in masonry and carpentry trades while training as a draftsman. In 1949 he entered his first architectural competition for a new sports stadium in Zurich/Switzerland. He lived and worked in 1953 as an architect in Lebanon, there he designed and constructed his first major building, a school in Aanjar, barely sixty kilometres from his new home in Beirut. Between 1956-1958 he completed fifty modern villas for employees of the Iraq Petroleum Company in Kirkuk. In 1958 Demarmels returned to Switzerland. In 1963 he built his own iconic home, flanked by two neighbouring buildings (listed today), followed in 1965 by Maison Cazenave in France. Hans Demarmels continued to build various buildings from single homes to multiple housing developments, mainly in Switzerland.

Handcolored sketch of the western facade of Maison Cazenave by architect Hans Demarmels from 1965 

Text based on an article in newspaper Béarn et Soule.

Publication date 11 March 2022