This house, the product of 10 years research, probably represents one of the most interesting developments currently achieved in the field of domestic architecture.

2 major assets

  • Natural control of indoor temperature winter and summer alike
  • Protection against harsh weather due to changes in the climate, seismic risks, thanks to its self-stabilising principle, and forest fires.

Strong points

  • Its simplicity due to the use of the ancestral technique of underground vaults.
  • its advanced technology in the calculation and manufacturing of the metal structure necessary for the reinforced concrete

10 years of work have been necessary in order to finalise the plans for this type of solar, bioclimatic dwelling, which at the same time comply with the following requirements :
The dwelling must :
  • provide at least 80% of its own thermal needs
  • regulate its own indoor temperature, winter and summer alike
  • provide good thermal insulation
  • allow the daylight to come in
  • fit into its surroundings
  • require little upkeep
  • be feasible at low cost

In order to respect the above requirements, it must :
  • function with solar and geothermal energy
  • be well orientated and benefit from good heat storage
- be partly underground and protected from the wind
  • have the entire southern side made of glass
  • be unobtrusive
  • have no roof and as few walls as possible exposed to the outside
  • use as few different building materials as possible.

Today's environmental and political aspirations also entail the following point :
  • The house must protect people from bad weather resulting from changes in the climate (heavy rain and winds over 150 km per hour), forest fires and seismic risks, thanks to its self-stabilising principle.

(Basic Module, example of a studio flat. Example of a detached house / villa)
(Vocabulaire: coupe = section, terre = earth, voûte = vault, vertical = vertical, fond = depth, pourtour = surrounding area)
Design to be used for the first construction in Sospel (France)



Based on a natural principle, the Bioclimatic house controls its own temperature. Facing south, south-east or south-west and with its western, north-eastern and eastern sides underground, it has maximal thermal insulation. The southern side is made entirely of glass. Indoors, a concrete or water storage heater provides the inertia necessary for this type of house by accumulating heat during the day and releasing it at night. The overhang above the glazing stops the sun coming in during the summer, thereby reducing the rise in temperature.

Vocabulaire Diagrammes

  • extracteur thermique = thermal extractor
  • terre = earth, soleil=sun
  • soleil direct = direct sunlight
  • chaleur diffusée = heat circulated
  • extraction d'air = air extraction
  • béton = concrete accumulateur = storage heater
  • entrée d'air = air inlet
  • mouvement d'air frais = movement of cool air



The circulation of air, and consequently of heat, drawn by the thermal extractor, is ensured from bottom to top without any mechanical assistance. Direct sunlight heats the floor and the walls, as well as the concrete storage heater, which releases its heat 5 hours later.


A 70cm overhang (which in our latitude is situated a quarter of the way down the glazing) stops the sun's rays from coming in at the hottest time of the day. The "cellar" principle keeps the indoor temperature at no more than 20°C. To avoid condensation, the thermal extractor keeps the air circulating, with maximum extraction during the hours of sunshine.


Vocabulaire graphique

  • apports directs solaires = direct sunlight supply
  • maison solaire = solar home
  • température intérieure moyenne = average indoor temperature
  • mur accumulateur = storage wall
  • maison traditionnelle = traditional home
  • température extérieure moyenne = average outdoor temperature
  • Janvier, sud de la France = January, South of France heures=hours)

Thermal assessment

Average outdoor temperature 0°C
Solar supply: 4477 Wh/days
It can be observed that in spite of almost identical insulation in both the bioclimatic house and the traditional dwelling (see losses in tables 1 and 2), the latter, having no glass walls and therefore no supply of sunlight (table 4), cannot (without heating) exceed an average of 5°C in 24 hours (curve B on graph). The bioclimatic house, thanks to its intake of sunshine (see table 3), attains an indoor temperature of 18° to 20°C in 24 hours (curve A). The storage walls, situated inside behind the glass, allow, by loading and unloading heat, a stable indoor temperature over a 24-hour period.

Vocabulaire graphique

  • apports directs solaires = direct sunlight supply
  • maison solaire = solar home
  • température intérieure moyenne = average indoor temperature
  • mur accumulateur = storage wall
  • maison traditionnelle = traditional home
  • température extérieure moyenne = average outdoor temperature
  • Janvier, sud de la France = January, South of France heures=hours)

[h3]Vocabulaire tableaux[/h31]
  • Maisons solaires bioclimatiques = bioclamitic solar houses
  • maison traditionnelle = traditional house
  • calcul des déperditions d'hiver = calculation of heat loss in winter
  • surface de la voûte = surface of the vault, surface des murs=surface of the walls
  • résistance de la face interne = resistance of the inner side of wall
  • béton 20cm = 20cm concrete, membrane d'étanchéité = 1cm thick water-resistant film
  • panneau de polystyrène extrudé 5cm = 5cm panel of extruded polystyrene
  • enduit de 2,5cm = 2.5cm plaster
  • film d'air extérieur (vent de 24km/h) = film of air outside (24km per hour wind)
  • résistance total = total resistance
  • application du coefficient de réduction (non contact avec l'extérieur) = application of the coefficient of reduction (no contact with outside)
  • calcul du coefficient de transmission = calculation of the transmission coefficient
  • déperdition de la voûte = heat loss through vault
  • déperditions des murs = heat loss through walls, superficie = surface area
  • périphérie de la face sud = periphery of the southern side
  • déperdition périphérique = peripheral heat loss, combles et toit = attic and roof
  • vitrage = glazing
  • vitrage direct en double vitrage (sans isolation nocturne) = direct double glazing (without insulation at night)
  • déperdition du vitrage direct = heat loss through the direct glazing
  • vitrage idem sur mur accumulateur = same glazing on storage wall
  • béton accumulateur = concrete storage heater
  • plafond avec laine minérale de 20cm = ceiling with 20cm layer of mineral wool
  • 2 fenêtres et une porte d'entrée vitrée = 2 windows and a glass front door
  • double vitrage, lame d'air 1,25cm = double glazing with 1.25cm of air between
  • déperditions des vitrages = heat loss through the glazing
  • renouvellement d'air = air renewal
  • cubage de la pièce x 1 fois = cubage of the room x 1
  • division des déperditions par la surface de plancher par 24h = division of heat loss through the floor surface per 24 hours
  • superficie du plancher = surface area of floor, coefficient global = global coefficient
  • total déperdition / plancher m2 x24h = total heat loss / m2 of floor x 24 hours
  • calcul des apports solaires en hiver = calculation of solar supply in winter
  • apport solaire direct = direct sunlight supply
  • apport solaire sur accumulateur = sunlight supplied to storage heater
  • rapport accumulateur / plancher de 20% et F de 72: l'énergie incidente est de 45% = ratio storage heater / floor 20% and F 72: the incident energy is 45%
  • coefficient d'apport thermique par m2 = coefficient of heat supply by m2
  • determination de la temperature moyenne intérieure = calculation of average indoor temperature


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