Modern architecture has adapted to crowded cityscapes in a variety of manners. On Freshome, we see more and more private homes that act like filters or “buffer zones” between the street and commonly surprising courtyards. This is also the case with Ecole Normale House, a contemporary residence envisioned by FABRE/deMARIEN Architects in Bordeaux, France. The 210 square feet home is completely protected by a brick facade with a just some slits allowing light to penetrate inside. On the opposite side however, it opens up through sliding glass doors to an inner garden with swimming pool and outdoor lounge areas.

According to the architects, “the construction is simple using concrete and glass as main materials. Beam-column system, floor slab, steps, seat, and concrete shelves are sheltered by large window frames in aluminum giving all spaces an inside-out feeling”. The residence is structured on two levels, with access to the rooms provided by a central spiral staircase. [Photography by Stéphane Chalmeau]