The White House

Offices + Equipment

The White House

White House - Saint-Chaffrey (SERRE-CHEVALIER VALLEY) 05

Departure station of the cable car

Project managementCommune de Saint-Chaffrey
Surface1 400 m2
Cost 2 400 000 - 2 900 000 € EXCL. TAX
BET Structure: LAMOUREUX & RICCIOTTI Ingénierie
Construction economics: R2M economist
Landscape: Christine Dalnoky
Photographic CreditsOlivier Amsellem

Construction of a communal building, rehabilitation of the cable car station (listed as a historical monument) and redevelopment of the Chantemerle snow front in Serre-Chevalier.

  • Ski lift operating premises
  • Point of sale of the ski lifts
  • Communal Hall
  • Tourist Office

BBC Label

How beautiful the mountain is!

Chantemerle is a village at the foot of one of the three Serre-Chevalier piste departures, one of the biggest ski resorts in the Southern Alps, very sporty and still a bit of a story to tell. We are among ourselves, don't mess around either.

The Mountain is serious, in summer we wait for the passer-by, in autumn we wait for the game, in spring we wait for the snow to melt and especially in winter we wait for the weather reports and we don't talk about snow falling, but we say "it's 30" or "it's covered", which is a good sign. In short, we wait all the time. And then we talk about skiing and all year long we talk about that. There is something immutable in the mountain that is reflected in the cheeks of the people above. Here we accept foreigners, but that's all. Foreigners start in the next valley, so to be a Marseillais is to say. Anyway, being from Marseille is being a foreigner everywhere.

How funny these places are when you think about it. We spend 6 months a year dressed in expensive multicoloured toucans without anyone finding anything wrong with them. Yet the slightest ski jacket worn in the city would make us look like a person, how shall I say, apart. We walk around thinking we're a movie star in plaster shoes. Here the glamour is to be bibendumé except for fairy. No need to talk about rasta or hairy hats or horned helmets etc, etc ... etc ...

It's a kind of snow carnival that lasts 6 months where the song of the tanned ones will always be as successful as soon as a lift stops.
It even happened to me not to recognize some comrades that I didn't even suspect of proudly wearing the supercopter helmet with a chrome visor or wearing their red reindeer knitted sweater, and yet.

But for construction, it's not the same. Progress is for ski lifts, not for building construction. A house is a substructure, wood and a wooden roof with two shingle slopes and then that's it.

So we made a building with two slopes, as it should be, but not with a basement, not in wood and not in shingles, that's for the building next door which is almost 80 years old. We made a building that tells a story of today, light grey but with very, very large windows so that the mountain finds its mirror here and can show the full range of its colours of the year.

It was also removed from the surrounding buildings so that the view and light could find its way through and the South side could speak to the North side without hindrance. Then when you enter the building, on the ground floor, you are so taken in by the view of the runway that you almost forget the price of the package.
And upstairs, you can sunbathe on the cantilevered terrace without getting tired.

There is something here that speaks of the pleasure of the place, of a precious and fragile balance, a kind of architectural metaphor of a wonderful landscape.

Matthieu POITEVIN.