What does a small commune of Muttersholtz in north-eastern France with less than 2000 people have to offer to its tourists? This region is home to "Tourner autour du Ried", a circular housing prototype designed by StAndré-Lang Architectes.

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Courtesy StAndré-Lang Architectes

Quick Facts:

Project name: Tourner autour du Ried

Designed by: StAndré-Lang Architectes Bastien Saint-André & Maxime Lang

Materials: Douglas fir, stainless steel wire netting, corn cobs, acrylic panels, cardboard columns, PVC free canvas

Design of the inside’s furniture: Delphine Gauchi Designer

Location: Muttersholtz, France

Area: 20 square-meters

Budget: 7000€ (approximately 5546£)

What does a small commune of Muttersholtz in north-eastern France with less than 2000 people have to offer to its tourists? Well, there is a lot to choose from. For instance, this region is widely famous for its local cheese Tomme du Ried, a typical red-blue linen fabric Kelsch, it’s home to one of the first houses of nature in France and more recently it’s home to “Tourner  autour du Ried”, a circular housing prototype designed by StAndré-Lang Architectes. You are probably wondering what is so special about it. It’s made of wood and corncobs.

Courtesy StAndré-Lang Architectes

This bold project won the Archi<20, a competition for architects and students of architecture. The winning team, consisting of Bastien Saint-André and Maxime Lang, materialized its sensational design with a budget of only 7000€.

Speaking of design, circularity is essential, with house, windows and inner patio all being circular. The facade is inspired by the traditional corn dryers in the Alsace plains. The facade is in fact highly practical. It serves as the cob storage suitable for drying. Dried corn cobs can eventually be replaced and storage refilled. Everything is secured and covered with a stainless steel wire ensuring that there is not the slightest risk of walls falling down. Changing along with the seasons, the facade blurs the immediate reading of the object almost erasing the house itself. The exterior design is eye-catching, modern and most importantly functional.

Corncob bricks! Courtesy of StAndré-Lang Architectes

The corn house is equally unconventional on the inside. It’s basically one-room functionally divided into four sections, based on cardinal directions, all of the organized around inner patio. On the Northern side – the entrance side – a low-ceiling area (night space) leads to a working one in the Eastern part of the building and to a more generous space in the Southern part, opening up to the sky. Bed is placed right next to the entrance, on the north-eastern side. The furniture, consisting of just one block extending around the entire house, perfectly integrates the needs of the different daily activities and with furniture incorporating modern shapes the room looks aesthetically pleasing. It is well lit providing enough natural light for indoor activities and plants. The central patio, at the heart of the living space, mirrors the desire to let nature enter the house. Planted with local species in mind, this building becomes a metaphor for the natural landscape of the Alsatian Ried: in this way, the living space lies at the meeting point between unspoiled nature and controlled cultivation, becoming the symbol of a finally found balance and the basis for sustainable development.

Courtesy StAndré-Lang Architectes

Courtesy StAndré-Lang Architectes.

About the Artists

Bastien Saint André and Maxime Lang completed their Masters in Architecture at the INSA, Strasbourg in 2008. After several experiences in France and abroad during their studies (Polytechnic School of Milan, jobs at Fuksas in Rome and Manuelle Gautrand in Paris for Bastien; Polytechnic School of Lausanne, jobs at Mongiello Plisson and Klein&Baumann in Mulhouse for Maxime) they started working for architecture practices in Paris to develop their skills and competences.

Since then, Bastien Saint-André has been working for Ibos et Vitart architectes, Maxime Lang for DND architectes, while collaborating together under StAndré-Lang Architectes.

With a keen interest in craftsmanship and sustainable development, they regularly exchange views about architecture and experiences, on different scale projects, from design to urbanism.

Design (source: StAndré-Lang Architectes)

Parts of the house (source: StAndré-Lang Architectes)