Maison Escalier (Stairs House) imagined and realized by Paris-based architects Jacques Moussafir. Located at 22 rue Jacob, this house of 153 m2 steel structure opens onto a quiet courtyard and preserved. Fully glazed façade is dressed in a metallic second skin pattern plant that protects the privacy of the occupants and hints at the complexity of interior volumes.
This magnificent achievement combines transparency and contemporary lines. The house is delimited on three sides by the original walls as a tree-like structure imitating art-deco style of the thirties. The south façade is entirely glazed and outfitted with electronically controlled patterned steel shades that paint shadows on the interior when the sun filters through.
The client requested that there be no doors, and Moussafir’s eponymous firm happily complied–though it did enclose two bathrooms. “It’s always a dream when a client says they don’t want any partitions,” says the architect. Locust-wood paneling on the floors, ceilings, and stairs contrasts with whitewashed masonry walls.
The house is a stair whose core houses the wet rooms, whose stairwell is defined by the gables of the neighbouring buildings, and whose steps and landings form the various living spaces. The choice of materials reinforces the architectural design: the partitions of the central core, the floors and the ceilings are all clad in locust tree, whose colour and pattern contrast with the texture and whiteness of the outer walls.
The interior of Maison Escalier is creatively designed with stark white-painted walls that contrast with rich, warm black locust wood floors and ceilings. The black locust wood also covers the central core walls and the staircase. Concrete boxes are installed on the existing walls to provide shelving throughout the house, and hints of lime green accent these boxes to give the interiors some diversity of color.
The steel structure of the home is comprised of multiple cantilevered floors supported by the core of the building. Through the integration of the stair, the whole of the house is an open floor plan with the only closed spaces being the bathrooms. No partition exists throughout these living spaces from the basement to the terrace on the roof. Each floor introduces a different view of the core of the home, and each space introduces lots of natural light. The daylight helps to keep this home from seeming too confined within its stone and steel walls.
The façade, opacity in transparency:
The private space of the house is delimited by a metal skin, embroidered with abstracted leaves. Within the limits of this intricate metal structure, which gives the project its main aesthetic motif, inhabitants feel sheltered, away from prying eyes. The house’s fully glazed façade is evidence of the scope of this reconstruction project and it gives glimpses of the building’s volumetric complexity.
A mythical architectural concept:
If the house is somehow reminiscent of a tree, what really seems to capture the essence of its conceptual basis is the image of the Cyclopean stairs, with large interlocking volumes wrapped around the core of the house: the stairs. The walls of the surrounding buildings are the staircase and the house unfolds its gradually rising living spaces, around the central core which features the kitchen and the bathroom.
Open and airy:
With large open spaces and plenty of natural light flowing in, this house feels airy and comfortable. The different floors have been completely opened up, with the exception of the bathrooms, giving the house total spatial continuity from the basement to the roof terrace.
A metal structure:
The backbone of this ambitious project is the elaborate metal framework. This steel structure supports the floors, cantilevered out from the central core, and it is largely independent of the three surrounding stone walls. Large concrete boxes fitted into the walls provide builtin shelving. The house’s key feature is the vertical stacking up of spaces which creates interlocking volumes and planes on the façade as if to establish a dialogue with the garden and the outside world.
Enhancing volumes & materials:
With his ‘Stairs House’ Jacques Moussafir turns a simple concept into something unique and beautiful, carefully selecting materials that further enhance his architectural statement. Hardwood floors and stairs are made of acacia, whose color and grain offer a stark contrast with the walls’ uneven white surface. The final touch is colorful built-in furniture, which perfectly complement the space and create flawless balance in this new haven of peace and serenity in the heart of the city.
Jacques Moussafir Architectes:
Built on the site of an old house set between two buildings in the heartof a very well-preserved block in the 6th arrondissement of Paris, this house is designed as a tree-like structure delimited on three sides by the original walls. Only the entirely glazed south façade belies the almost total reconstruction of the building and provides a glimpse of the volumetric complexity of its interior spaces. Even more than that of a tree, the most effective metaphor for the project might be that of a Cyclopean stairway: the house is a stair whose core houses the wet rooms, whose stairwell is defined by the gables of the neighbouring buildings, and whose steps and landings form the various living spaces.
The fact that there was no need to partition the rooms (except the bathrooms) means that there is a sense of total spatial continuity from basement to roof terrace. The structure, entirely of steel, is made up of cantilevered floors borne by the central core and partly dissociated from the three outer walls onto which have been grafted concrete boxes that act as built-in furniture. The choice of materials reinforces the architectural design: the partitions of the central core, the floors and the ceilings are all clad in locust tree, whose colour and pattern contrast with the texture and whiteness of the outer walls.
Project name: Maison Escalier
Location: 22 Rue Jacob, 75006 Paris, France
Coordinates: 48.855399, 2.335259
- Type By Characteristic: Contemporary House, Renovation / Expansion / Extension : House
- Type By Site: City / Town House
- Type By Size: Small House – (51 sqm – 200 sqm)
- Type By Structural: Plaster / Mortar / Masonry House
Program: reconstruction of a house
Project Area: 153 + 15 roof terrace sqm
Project Year: 2008-2011
Cost: 850 000€ excl. VAT
Completion Year: February 2012
Client / Owner / Developer: Eric de Rugy
Architects: Jacques Moussafir Architectes – 5/7, rue d’Hauteville, 75010 Paris, France
Prroject Architects: Jacques Moussafir with Alexis Duquennoy, project manager, and Na An
HVAC engineers: LBE
Contractors: Malishev Wilson Engineers (structure), Catherine Holder (Landscape)
Structural Engineer: Jean-Marc Weill and Malishev Wilson Engineers
Text Description: © Courtesy of Jacques Moussafir Architectes, archrecord
Images: © Jacques Moussafir Architectes, Hervé Abbadie
Materials & Suplier:
- Masonry: Existing walls refurbished along the north and east façades.
- Metal Panels: Coated steel cladding panels on roof terrace level.
- Metal/glass curtain wall: Steel FORSTER frames with extra-clear glass and electrically operated shutters made of lacquered laser-cut steel.
- Wood: Ipe wood on the outside balcony and roof terrace floors
- Built-up roofing: steel roof planters supporting wooden panels under the waterproofing membrane. Insulation is provided by layers of glass wool located below the wooden panels.
- Other: SOPREMA vegetated roof system with self-sustaining plants
- Wood frame: wooden window frames inserted in the existing east and north façades
- Metal frame: coated steel FORSTER frames on the south and east façades, coated aluminium frames on the 2 roof lights
- Glass: double glazing with laminated extra-clear glass
- Skylights: double glazing with laminated extra-clear glass
- Entrances: glazed entrance door with coated steel FORSTER frame
- Metal doors: terrace glazed door with coated aluminium frame
- Wood doors: wooden glazed doors on the eastern façade and inside doors paneled with ADMONTER 14mm locust tree boards.
- Sliding doors: coated aluminium sliding doors for bedroom opening (south façade)
Hardware: Other special hardware: JAKOB stainless steel mesh guardrails
- Wall coverings: walls, floors and ceilings are covered with ADMONTER dark locust tree boards except for the pre-existing masonry walls painted white
- Paneling: ADMONTER dark locust tree boards fixed on fire-resistant plasterboards in the main space + HPL high density panels in the kitchen
- Solid surfacing: ARDEX white resinous concrete for ground and basement floors, ADMONTER dark locust tree boards for the upper levels
- Special surfacing:white HPL high density panels for the kitchen floor and furniture
- Floor and wall tile: creamy color tiles on WEDI waterproof tiling boards for the toilet and bathroom
Furnishings: Other furniture: cupboard shelves and inside panelings made of lacquered high density wooden boards with translucent glazed doors surrounded by concrete frames sealed in the existing masonry walls
Lighting: Interior ambient lighting: all lighting systems manufactured by VIABIZZUNO