Pierre et Vacances Residence

  • Cap-d'Ail, France
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Enrollment on the cliff register


The site? It’s steep. Rocky. Partly hollowed out by a quarry. Almost a cliff. Pine trees and agaves cling to its surface between the rocks, on the slope overlooking the sea. Architecture also clings to it. It lodges itself deep down, reinforcing the cracks in the rocks. It is mineral. It is minimal. Made out of the simplicity of polished rock – reconstituted in actual fact. It plays on shiny and matt surfaces – affirmations of simple, rhythmic volumes – and on the disappearance of these in the rock, behind the pines, beneath the loose stones and aloes.


The verticality of the quarry is embodied in a waterfall. The water comes from up above, from the ridge in the middle. Rocks cascade into the water on a spacious terrace where a chamelion blue swimming pool plays at merging with the azure sky and sea.


Seen from the inside, the architecture of the garages hollowed out of the rock, lit by long horizontal slits, is crypt-like. Yet with the CinemaScope view of the landscape from each apartment, it is panoramic. It seeks to be restful, serene, and immutable in the simplicity of its contours and the harmony of its materials – polished marble stone, which, whether in shadow or sunlight, calls out to be touched. The thickness of the medium, the freshness related to its mass and to the depth of space create an impression of architecture engraved in the rock, a recollection, an awareness of what architecture has always been: a shelter, a strategic place from which to face time and the elements.



Jean Nouvel