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A bubble house in the heart of the Vosges region designed by Pascal Häusermann

By 3 April 2014April 19th, 2024No Comments

This collection of bubble houses in Raon-l’Etape, in the Vosges, is a true “architecture-sculpture”, one of the most accomplished creations of Pascal Häusermann, a major figure in French architecture in the 1970s. This avant-garde architecture is protected as a Historic Monument.

Maurice Thierry was the owner of the Relais Lorraine-Alsace in Raon-l’Etape when he discovered the work of Claude Haüsermann. He called on Haüsermann to create an extension to his existing hotel. This is how the Eau-Vive motel came into being, on a river island formed by the arms of the La Plaine river. The complex is made up of 11 bubbles, including 9 hotel cells, positioned in an arc as if to suggest a convivial moment in a green setting.

After several new owners and years of neglect, a team of five enthusiasts of the 60s and 70s set about restoring the building in the early 2000s, breathing new life into its historic roots by decorating it with objects by designers such as Charles Eames and Verner Panton.

Set in 4,100 m² of landscaped grounds, each of these homes blends delicately into its natural surroundings. Day or night, the interior and exterior spaces offer a play of perspective, lightness and poetry.

Inside, these bubble houses unfold their organic, sculptural forms through spaces of varying shapes, with no right angles but curved walls and numerous nooks and crannies. The lighting, which plays on the orientation, size and shape of the windows, accentuates the uniqueness of each room. The quality of the spaces is combined with an original décor, dominated by white and colour. With attention to the smallest details (entrance door, fireplace, etc.), Pascal Haüsermann has designed a total work of art, a blend of nature and architecture.

Pascal Haüsermann’s creations, with their organic forms in shotcrete, are characteristic of “sculpture-architecture”, a post-war trend that broke with the Modern Movement’s emphasis on right angles. From 1955 to 1975, Pascal Häusermann and his counterparts Antti Lovag, Jean-Louis Chanéac and Benjamin Maneval built “bubble houses” based on modularity and individual freedom of expression.

The fact that they are scalable and modular, and that cells can be added as the family develops, means that they resemble a biological system, an effect that is reinforced aesthetically by the spherical structure of the units.

Dozens of these bubbles would spring up all over France, in private homes, restaurants, hotels, schools and even a theatre.

Pascal Häusermann

Pascal Häusermann (1936-2011) was a pioneer in the renewal of architectural and urban planning forms in the 1960s, and for over fifty years he championed modularity in architecture and the free expression of the individual. In 1958, he was the first to develop a technique for designing a house using shotcrete on a metal frame, a process that would become the best means of expressing sculpture-architecture.

A proponent of greater involvement by residents in the design and development of their built environment, the architect built a number of concrete-wall buildings in France and Switzerland between 1960 and 1970: houses (Grilly, Minzier), a restaurant (Le Balcon de Belledonne with Claude Haüsermann-Costy) and a polyclinic in Geneva.

Pascal Häusermann has invented and experimented with alternative architecture, a new form of housing.

Photos : droits réservés