Belle Iloise House by Opus 5


Belle Iloise House by Opus 5

Paris studio Opus 5 Architects have completed this island house in Brittany, France, featuring a glazed façade with sections covered by stone screens.

Belle Iloise House by Opus 5

Called Belle Iloise House, the long building is divided in two by a glazed walkway.

Belle Iloise House by Opus 5

The walkway houses a glazed footbridge, which connects the bedrooms to the rest of the house.

Belle Iloise House by Opus 5

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Belle Iloise House by Opus 5

The following information is from the architects:



This house has been designed by Opus 5 Architects, Bruno Decaris and Agnes Pontremoli. It is located on Belle-ile-en-Mer, the biggest island of Britany which is famous for its protected and wild lands. Some strict architectural rules have imposed the construction of a unique model of ‘neo-Britannic’ style: the same little houses are spread all over the island, with no proper architectural quality.

Belle Iloise House by Opus 5


The architects have proposed a contemporary and personal vision of the traditional model imposed by the severe regulations of the site. They took the challenge to transform the existing stereotype into a new up-to-date construction, by respecting the restricted architectural rules:

  • Slate roof with two slides at 45 degrees, gables and limited openings (max width 1,60 m)
  • Despite the fact that the house aimed to be harmoniously integrated in the landscape, the reasonable stylistic daring has created fierce debate.

Belle Iloise House by Opus 5


Spared volume: low and long proportions, limited height, with limited roof space. The roofing is built without salient element and only contains some panes of glass in the front.

Belle Iloise House by Opus 5


The façades are split into two: an inner skin which is entirely glazed and partially hidden by schist panels, to release the ‘regulatory’ openings. Those stone ‘paravents’ create some magical lighting effects and reflexions inside the house.

Belle Iloise House by Opus 5

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When the daylight fades, the glass panels light up and disappear to create a warm atmosphere: the house seems to float.

Belle Iloise House by Opus 5


The two portions of the main part of the house- living room and bedrooms, are connected by a transparent window screen and an entirely glass footbridge, enabling a clear sea view from both the inside and the outside.

See also:


Ty Pren by
Feilden Fowles
Residence O by
Andrea Tognon
Apprentice Store by
Threefold Architects

Posted on Monday February 21st 2011 at 2:25 pm by Catherine Warmann. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Paul, Yorkshire

    I don't get the stone walls in front of the windows….very rare a client with money to waste.
    It might have been interesting if these 'screens' were moveable.

  • I'm curious as to what's the purpose of those heightened stone walls outside the glass wall.

    • Florian

      What purpose? None. They are just there. They are cool. They are Brittany. They are non-utilitaristic. Reasons enough, uh?

  • Karim

    thermal massing.

    • jojo

      thermal mass . . .on the outside. interesting theory.

    • j11

      ahahaha. yup, radical new take on thermal mass. very inspiring……..?!

    • Suvin

      Whatever effect the 'thermal massing' would have would surely be offset by those huge expanses of glass!

  • seth

    those stone screens are just silly !

    • Lula

      I believe they did not have the choice: they had to use stones to respect the regulations. It is what they explain in the text. Good job!!!!

  • edward

    My guess is the stone screens are meant to recall stone buildings on the island. Perhaps some form of regulations as was mentioned in the text. The screens are constructed in such a way as to make clear they have no load bearing capacity. Otherwise great job!

  • Hino

    It seems that the structure is part of the landscape.It fits perfectly. The colours and the texture of the walls mixed with those huge windows give a relaxing feeling.

  • dcmetrocentric

    The look of the stones creates a nice call back to more classical homes, plus it has the practical uses, clever!

  • stirring

    Forget the screens. two words people… "glazed footbridge". Now thats awesome!

  • Caro

    In spite of the fact I love architecture and new ideas (and that one is not bad), I've seen that house growing in Herlin, Belle-île-en-mer, among other traditionnal houses facing the landscape, and I felt like it was a knife's cut in the scenery. Very weird. Maybe because my heart belongs to Belle-île ?

    • boby

      I have seen this house in construction and loved it. It is actually very well integrated in the landscape of the island. I thought it was in complete harmony with the colours of Belle ile: it is even more discreet than the other bright and traditional houses. If I were living on such a beautiful Island, I would prefer living in that house and in the traditional imposed model.

      • Caro

        I agree with the fact it's a beautiful house, that'd be ok for me placed in the middle of nowhere than where it stands now. The strict regulations are related to the story of the island, those little bright white and colored houses are part of Belle-île, part of its soul. It's full of sense.
        On the other hand, it is true too that some new more traditionnal style houses are ugly.
        It's the whole good old debate that will never end, and that's fine : tradition and modernity, prettyness and aestheticism, history and future, etc. :)

  • Plankton

    When you're aware of the regulations in Belle-île, you realize how amazing is that house. Being able to do something original in that context is an architectural performance. Also, just looking at it, it fits really well with the landscape as it looks like a landscape itself. Well done !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!