Building 5 now houses the studios of the students of the art school. The last step of the architectural ensemble, it continues building 4 on a lower level and further south. It initially housed stage design workshops for the cinema, the theater, television, studios for two and three dimensional decoration, studios for building models, and labs for photography and film. Its terraces include a maze that looks like an antique ruin and a pyramid that recalls Egyptian mastabas.
In the foreground the concrete slab of the terrace of building 5 is being poured. Behind one can see the work site for the elements of the maze, and an interior wall of building 4 with the counter relief indicating the level of the future terraces.
In the back the old Villa is being renovated.
The picture is taken from the top of the mastaba.
In the background the south facade of building 4 evokes a fortress with its massive aspect and its crenelated top.
This feeling is also present on the east and west facades of the domain. The windows are sheltered in vertical recesses, testifying to the special care with which Michel Marot dealt with mastering light, both for composing the volumes and making the place habitable.
In the foreground a series of rough concrete volumes with ribbed motifs create a maze. The horizontal and rectangular blades seen on top diffuse the light from the skylights encased within each volume.
In the background an open air pyramidal construction, directly inspired by Egyptian mastabas, allows for the passage of light on the level below.
At the end, the external walls of the terrace include windows that are inspired by industrial sawtooth roofs and also provide light for the level below.
There are three natural lighting systems in this space: frontal vertical lighting on the façade, horizontal skylights placed inside shapes that evoke industrial sawtooth roofs, skylights in the ceiling topped by transparent pyramids.
Here the skylights are situated inside the maze on the terrace of building 5.
In the foreground, one of the volumes of the maze on the terrace of building 5. In the background the south facade of building 4 and the stairway leading to the central street.
The panels of stones have not all been mortared yet. One can observe the difference in appearance due to their on site handmade fabrication, and the various calibers of the available stones.
On the left, over the sloping street, a footbridge allows for the passage between two terraces. There is an openwork railing at the end.
This detail shows how Michel Marot constantly played with the interpenetration of volumes and voids and how he mastered light.
The interlinking of textures is typical of the rest of the domain: stones, rough concrete, Veronico tiles and marble tiles on the floor, concrete or wrought iron railings that give rhythm to the proportions, mahogany windows and doors. These combinations always stimulate observation.
Situated at the south end of the domain, this stairway runs along the east side of building 5 and corresponds to the end of the pathway which leads to the lowest part of the Villa Arson.
It allows for returning to the alley of cypresses, which runs along the entire building on the west side and goes back up the hill to the entrance garden. Thus it is possible to walk around the entire property.
In the foreground is the stairway which continues the eastern pathway running along building 5. The arrangement of the textures and volumes corresponds to the themes of the entire architecture: subtle arrangement of the volumes, pointillism of the stone walls, smooth or rough concrete, constant presence of greenery.
The leaves at the top of the trees mingle with the motifs of the stones. “The stones had to become similar to the pointillism of the leaves, because we had to make the façades disappear… All this was the result of my research on skin and color. […] The promontory of the Villa Arson was a green mass that had to be preserved from the uncontrolled urban densification. The material of the walls then had to be blurred into that of the leaves. By decorating it with tumbled stones from the Var, the idea was also to remain faithful to materials from the area, to its mineral history, and to create a place where architecture would not impinge upon the urban space. I would have preferred somewhat less gray stones but I must say that they have warmed up with the dust of time” (Michel Marot).
In charge of the project
Cédric Moris Kelly
Under the guidance of Patrick Aubouin
Cédric Moris Kelly
Data entry in Google Cultural Institute interface
Cédric Moris Kelly
Digitalization of spaces by Google Street View team was made possible thanks to the mobilization of Villa Arson technical teams:
Reception, monitoring and maintenance
Reception, monitoring & accommodation
Technical / Buildings staff
Thanks to Michel Marot for the graceful authorization to use the archives collection Marot Tremblot Architecture (MTA)
With the support of the French Ministry of Culture and Communication and the Google Street View and Google Cultural Institute teams