Straight out of a science fiction novel, it’s perched ever-so delicately atop a rock formation in the heart of the Ardèche region of France, as if it just touched down from another galaxy. Its lively forms are no accident; the octopean abode is a rare example of the movement known as Architecture-sculpture, born in France during the 1950s, blending sculpture and architecture to create liveable masterpieces. And now this little-known architectural landmark, has landed on the property market. So let’s play house hunter and take a virtual snoop around our dream house du jour, the Unal House…
Built in the 1970s by Joël Unal and Claude Häusermann-Costy, the Unal house is simultaneously a relic of the past and a glimpse into our future. Designated a historical landmark in 2010, the property comes with not only a space age domicile but a Neolithic burial ground as well. That’s right. Cached away under the external guest bedroom that hovers above, to this day, not much is known about the grave, so if you fancy yourself a bit of an archeologist, exploration awaits. Unal was careful to leave the entrance to the grave entirely undisturbed, keeping his bubbles floating above the rocks thanks to the foundational concrete legs he designed, like wandering tentacles of an octopus.
The capsules are full of unexpected openings, designed by the Unals who not only inhabited the house but also built it entirely themselves by hand. Let’s take a pause for a fascinating documentary that gives us a behind the scenes look from creation to completion:
The cells of the house contain three bedrooms, a kitchen, a living room, two bathrooms, a studio, a hammock and a library – everything you could need to welcome any fellow extra-terrestrials. The organic caverns create a sense of real communal living and a interconnected experience for those inside.
A unexpected bonus of a bubble house is they are actually very sustainable, they require much less materials to create than a angular house with the same square footage.
But why stop at one bubble dream house, when you can have two?! Another famous player of the Architecure-sculpture movement is Antti Lovag, best-known for designing the infamous bubble palace owned by legendary fashion designer, Pierre Cardin. But the Hungarian architect built several bubble homes, and as it happens, one of them, located in Fontaines-sur-Saone, has also hit the market:
Coincidentally Joël Unal also worked alongside Lovag on reinforcing it in 1975 after the initial completion of the Unal house. After releasing a book entitled Pratique du voile de concrete en autoconstruction, Unal subsequently became a go to guy for working on bubble houses. Antti Lovag and the Unal house’s co-creator Claude Häusermann-Costy, in fact worked closely together on an association dedicated to organic architecture called evolutive habitat founded in the 1970s along with Pascal Häusermann and Jean-Louis Chanéac who were also prolific architects in the Architecture-sculpture movement.
Find more information on The Unal House and The Antti Lovag House. And we’ll let you in on a secret from our little black book: make sure to bookmark Architecture de Collection – a treasure chest of unusual homes.