Spiral House by Powerhouse Company


Copenhagen- and Rotterdam-based architects Powerhouse Company have completed a spiral-shaped extension to a house in Burgundy, France.

Called Spiral House, the extension is arranged around a central patio, where visitors enter the structure.

A shallow staircase wraps around this central space, leading from a living room and library on the ground floor to two guest rooms on the first floor.

Glazed walls on the inside of this loop admit light from the patio space, while windows in the outer surface frame specific views over the surrounding garden.

More about Powerhouse Company on Dezeen: Villa 1.

Photographs are by Bas Princen. Drawings are by Charles Bessard, architect-in-charge and partner of Powerhouse Company.

Here's some more information from Powerhouse Company:



The Spiral house is an extension of an existing house. Set amongst a generous property covering 13.000m2, crossed by a small river and planted with a wide variety of old ornamental trees, the Spiral House rests within the pastoral charm of the Burgundy landscape.

Despite its traditional architecture the existing house struggled to inhabit and occupy the expansive garden.

In contrast the Spiral House expands freely into the garden, seeking to create as many experiences of the garden as possible.

In a gentle lift from the ground floor to the roof level it creates a surprising variety of spaces that blur the boundaries between the house and the garden where the architecture and the landscape merge together.

In wrapping the house around a planted patio the Spiral House is reminiscent of a french ‘Clos’: an enclosed vineyard common to the famous landscape of the region. In the Spiral House the ‘Clos’ is transformed into an inviting gesture, the peripheral wall is lifted and twisted to create a spiral. In turn it creates a continuous invitation from outside to inside and a continuous movement from the entrance to the more intimate rooms of the house.

The patio, the covered terrace and the panoramic views serve to connect the house with the garden, inviting the guests to unwind and enjoy the garden’s tranquillity.

Click for larger image

Its geometry grew out of the internal organization of the house mixed with the particular requests of the client. Large and open rooms with high ceilings are used on the ground floor for the living room and library, while smaller, more intimate spaces are used for two guest suites. It also includes a multipurpose dorm/playroom for the kids and their friends.

Together with the existing house, the Spiral House describes a programmatic loop in the park-like garden. It both embraces the garden and defines a patio within the centre of the house. All the rooms are distributed around this patio along a gentle staircase that slowly rises from ground floor to first floor. Visitors enter the extension from the patio, and are thus welcomed into the heart of the house.

The architecture of the Spiral House focuses upon the distribution of openness and the intimacy of space. The fully glazed patio floods the house with sunlight, creating openness without compromising intimacy.

The external façades are perforated with windows varying in size and proportions, with each of these framing specific views of the garden, in turn creating unique atmospheres within each room. It is a continuous space of soft transitions from public to private.

The rooms function as a succession of mezzanines that may be opened or closed, providing the guest with a subtle feeling of participating in the life of the house.

Being more than a house, the Spiral House is a pleasurable and sheltered promenade in the landscape.

Location: Burgundy, France
Area: 200 m2
Client: Withheld
Budget: 300.000 €
Scope: Design, construction drawings
Contractor: Covre Charpente Sarl, Berthoud toiture, Ets Favérial, SA Gandin

Posted on Friday October 30th 2009 at 12:10 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Looks like a DIY nightmare.

  • i wish i could live that house.


    most surprisingly awesome extension I’ve seen in a long long time

  • paul

    beautiful hand drawings and watercolors ! it’s refreshing.

  • zez

    interesting space and move, for me the envelope could be a bit more elaborated, in sense of nature surounding, materials and textures.

  • The addition to the traditional country-house seems really out of proportion. In relation to the extremly beautyful villa 1 by the same architects, this project – built with a much smaller budget though – addresses totally different emotions. It’s ‘fremdkorperlich’ and awkward towards its context (both the house and the surrounding landscape). Not a promenade in the landscape at all.

    I much rather associate Powerhouse Company with their Villa 1.

  • germanarchitect

    Good Idea wich is good example, how such builings work together with the existing kontext. I like the picture together with the old house.

    Great sketches! Goog working with Space!

  • leo

    great idea. wish we had more photos from interior. congrats

  • germanarchitect

    and much better than the model on the website of powerhouse

  • hj

    freakishly awesome. When Dutch firms build private homes in France it works so well. It feels like a hybrid between Koolhaas’ Villa d’Alva and his Bordeaux Villa.

  • hj:
    A hybrid between Villa Dall ‘Ava and Villa Bordeaux must at least feature an elevating pool. Or a poetic relation between architecture, client and context. Please elaborate on how you see this in happening in the Spiral House.

  • aeolus

    Love the sketches and the sense of adventure in inhabiting the home. Money was saved in the exterior wall finish but that only highlights the expression of a home turned in on itself and blends with the simple nature of the original home. Bravo!

  • bodkin

    at least they had it the right colour in the water colour sketch!

  • Michelalano

    Interesting design concept. I feel the windows on the interior of the spiral (facing the courtyard) are a little basic and “storefront.” Why must we do without interior views, dezeen? All we can do is comment on sculptural formal qualities. It might be a nightmare inside.

    Also, the tree is freakishly close to the addition, directly blocking a window. Seems if it was so important to keep the tree, they would have designed with that in mind. If not that important, have it moved or take it down and plant others.

  • rodney

    That’s the best water-colour rendering I’ve ever seen.

  • gab xiao

    the quote “looks like a DIY nightmare” will stick for good to this house. really, there wasn’t any need for such a formal fuss to design a nice countryside house addition.

    it’s an interesting ‘parasite’ contrived around a semi-open patio though – just wondering why they contrived that atrium and walled up the house on the outside, instead of opening up towards the surrounding landscape?… SEARCH Architects’ version was a better outcome…

  • aeolus

    The “storefront” is certainly in keeping with the Koolhaas aesthetic as expressed in the Villa d’Alva as was mentioned in previous comment, and cuts costs. Good luck with the sodded roof.

  • I don’t know why but it just doesn’t look all that grounded. The “house on stilts” effect is very disconcerting.
    Should we presume the owner has a penchant for merlot? (re: the purple color) Looks very depressing on first blush.
    The interior looks light and refreshing while the exterior seems heavy and oppressive.

  • Guys come on: it’s Villa Dall’Ava (not Villa d’Alva)

  • Ema

    I am not an architect but i see some Le Corbusier in that :)

  • Guillaume

    Well I certainly like the fact that the view from the large windows gives both on nature and the old house. Very much in the spirit of monasteries or old farms built around a central courtyard. Wait until they grow a vine against the wall and it will be superb.

    Not sure about the pillars though. Seem very lightweight from certain angles, but the overall aspect is too much of an in between situation: there are either too many or to few of them.

  • It’s undoubtedly an interesting extension with an interesting approach. I find it intriguing and beautiful.

  • Emma Picard

    To answer mr Robert-Jan de Kort: what do you think you know about “a poetic relation between architecture, client and context” concerning this house? At least this one is more inhabitable than Koolhaas Bordeaux house (cf. http://www.koolhaashouselife.com, excellent)
    all the more as you have not seen the views and emotions from inside to outside!

  • Dear Emma Picard,
    First of all: my comment was meant to provoke a reaction of ‘hj’ because in my opinion the comparison of this project and the two Koolhaas houses is inappropriate. Unfortunately he/she never reacted. I’m just after some sort of online discussion that goes beyond the words ‘intriguing’ and ‘beautiful’.
    Secondly, are you suggesting that there was a special “poetic relation between architecture, client and context”? Please inform me about this, I would love to learn more.
    Thirdly: I really wonder what an emotion from inside to outside looks like.

    Kind regards,
    Robert-Jan de Kort

  • very nice line drawings. we need more interior photos to believe this really works.

  • Twinkle Pancholi

    I don’t think the design does justice to the name given i.e. the ‘spiral house’, or visa versa! The plans and sections don’t relate to the external slope of the facade either, which btw is irrelevant!