Catalog Houses

Serial Design for a Different Audience

Grégoire Allix 

Volume, illumination, projections, terraces... Architect-designed houses appear in magazines and commercials, yet rarely have buyers. Only from 5 to 7% of the 220,000 private residences built yearly in France can be said to be the work of an architect. In the context of a conference on the one-family dwelling, three hundred of these “custom-made” houses were open to visitors in Paris last June.

The rest is RTW, ready-to-wear. Or better, ready-to-live-in. An immense majority of the 8 million houses that have gone up in France since the sixties have been sold through the catalog system and delivered for immediate occupancy, key in hand, by contractors, for whom this market represents an annual net profit of 15 million euros. The robot image of these catalog houses shows a container with five rooms and a floor area of 107 square meters, crowned with a pitched roof and decorated with motifs that are either regionalist (slate roof in the north, tiled roof in the south; stone or brick around the windows; white or pink plaster) or classicist (pediments, columns). All for an average price of 95,280 euros... [+]

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