Ault, a town in Maritime Picardie in Northern France: once a booming tourist hotspot during La Belle Époque and the Roaring Twenties, nestled on the edge of the picturesque cliffs on the Channel coastline, Ault’s territory is affected at present by severe depopulation. It therewith shares the same fate as many other shrinking cities. The constantly growing quantity of vacant houses is accompanied by rarely opened second homes.
Ongoing local discussions exclusively focus on natural - eroding - aspects of the surrounding cliffs which gradually lead to stagnation, to a declining economy and thus into oblivion.
With the shared backdrop of cultural patterns which have reached the end of their cycle such as perpetual ownership, the programmatic setup of our project equally tackles traditional usages, especially the category of secondary or primary homes. Today this distinction is obsolete. Whether willing or unwilling, we have become sedentary nomades or respectively nomade settlers in the scenography of our daily life, the transition is in full swing.
The Ault Common Home-project is organised as an overlay of complementary programmatic mixed-usages which are alternatively run through different operating cycles. It contributes to the regeneration of the local urban context and at the same time mindful to global challenges of contemporary strategies for critical tourism.
Definitive planning permission has been granted and the initial construction phase is scheduled for mid-autumn of this year. Three different digital building techniques are provided to absorb the challenging geometry entailed by the complex architectural programming.
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