Architect's Portfolio: The French Luxury Castle Home -
Site Planning the French home: Style and Proportions, Height limitations
When a large property is available nearly any style/proportion of house can be done. Suburban and smaller lots affect the overall massing, especially when garages are required to load from the main street. More often the plans must be worked out where a primarily asymmetrical design is the result. Full symmetry and grand scale are permitted in counties but be aware in any case that the height of the French roof - giving one of its primary characteristics - may be limited. If this is the case the choice of a French style home should be reconsidered.
Historic French Interiors vs. Modern Living
In trying to replicate the palaces of kings and nobility the architects through the last 600 years took signature elements of form and detail to incorporate into exterior facades and interior spaces. From the gilded to the painted, trim and moldings, arches, columns and ornate ceilings must be fashioned in a consistent style. In this way we capture the French luxurious character. We can keep much of the pomp through a graduation of effect so that a 'museum' feel is avoided -- unless desired! Furnishings in a more contemporary style would work as well as period pieces.
How does 21st century living affect the interior spatial organization of a French house?
The Renaissance through Neo Classical French castle plan changed through time from being very formal with the enfilade circulation (as observed in the large chateaux and royal palaces) to a more discrete organization of space. In our time many state rooms and servant's quarters are redundant and expensive. More than two formal living or dining rooms are not done now. We normally build for our family and occasional entertaining. The result is that the interior of a modern French home is almost completely different from its historic precedents. Some key concepts to incorporate: axial planning, a central symmetrical motif, and if symmetrical: a fully stacked second or third level over the first.
Design Services for the French Home
We are happy to work with a Client who is inspired by the grand chateaux of France and wish to capture the main effects to use in a highly customized residence of their own. In L'Ecole des Beaux Arts the students were to design 'modern' buildings citing precedence in every case to justify their designs. In the same way we accept your particular vision and translate it into a one of a kind home of beauty and substance using the period proportions and detailing of French castles.