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A Manifesto for a Living House

The Hourré: Discover the 300-year-old Basque farmhouse, home to architecture and landscape-design agency, Collectif Encore.

A Manifesto for a Living House

architecture & interior

Collectif Encore is an architecture and landscape-design agency whose approach aims to unite one with the other. Their understanding of the possibilities and potential of certain structures is quite specific and unique. Focused on revitalizing and reconstructing heritage architecture, Collectif Encore designs a project only after acknowledging the requests of the broadest range of participants. Following the principles of participatory architecture, the collective pays heed to the residents’ needs, and is conscious of what the natural context and biosphere might require.  

The Hourré is the current residence for members of the collective and it exemplifies the architects’ signature style. In creating the home, they transformed a humble, 300-year-old Basque farmhouse lying in ruins into a contemporary, sparkling, and inclusive living environment with minimalistic (and often invisible) design solutions, carefully preserving the farmhouse’s identity and character. 

(The Hourré has a strong connection with nature, with 50% of the residence dedicated to outdoor areas. Photo: Courtesy of Michel Bonvin, Sublime Hideaways)

Every possible element of the original design remained and was thoughtfully incorporated into the reimagined residence. Thus the space left by the farmhouse doors now frames a lovely view of Basque Country, while hammock-like netting has replaced the old fallen-in second floor, transforming the upstairs into a space for games and rest. 

(The home is equipped with two construction safety nets which serve a dual purpose as both protective barriers and leisurely amenities, providing an unexpected and imaginative feature that enhances the livability of the space. Photo: Courtesy of Charlotte Gastaut, Sublime Hideaways)

With interference to the farmhouse’s identity kept to a minimum, the contemporary design elements bring a playfulness to the mix, creating an environment perfect for living and working together. A large, shared table in the communal area invites residents to create and collaborate, while colorfully painted doors, window frames, and ceiling beams provide unexpected shots of inspiration. With the addition of the glass roof, panoramic windows, and stylish furniture, the whole volume comes alive as a multifunctional social space. 

(The upstairs bathroom is located on an open terrace so the residents can bathe under the open sky. Photo: Courtesy of Michel Bonvin, Sublime Hideaways)

With Hourré, by occupying the role of architect and client simultaneously, and through their loving, contemporary redesign of a heritage structure, Collectif Encore has created a “manifesto for a living house.” Indulge in a world of remote living. Explore more projects like these in our latest title, Sublime Hideaways

This story was originally featured in Sublime Hideaways.