Between Aveyron and Lot, four “works of art refuges” welcome and amaze pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela. The project ‘Window on the landscape’ invites artists and architects to create stopovers in the middle of nature for walkers and trekkers, but also for the local population. Poetic refuges built according to ancestral know-how or with the resources found on site and worth seeing.
Every year several hundred thousand pilgrims tread the paths of Compostela. If the routes to reach the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in France are not lacking, many walkers and hikers take the beautiful road that crosses the Aveyron and the Lot.
On the GR65 connecting Geneva to the Basque Country, the Derrière Le Hublot association has decided to create exceptional refuges. For example, since the launch of the “Window on the landscape” project, four “art works refuges” have already seen the light of day and three others are still in the planning phase.
In 2020, Super-Cayrou will pop up in Gréalou in the lush Causses du Quercy (Lot) Regional Natural Park. The name refers to the Occitan appellation “cayrou”, which refers to the cairns made by the farmers who pierced their fields. Built in dry stone, the strange refuge takes on the lines of the neighboring hills and the ancestral techniques of gariot-making that sheltered the shepherds of yore. Designed by the architectural group Encore Joyeux, the refuge was built near an ancient oak tree, beneath a UNESCO World Heritage-listed dolmen. What do you invite for meditation…
The golden room
The following year, the artist Abraham Poincheval completed his work called La Chambre d’or in Golinhac (Aveyron). Below the village, overlooking a hilly landscape, in a small undergrowth nestles an amazing structure that looks like a rock. At the top we discover a weather vane that indicates the source of the wind.
The Golden Hall is identical to a granite ball, the only noticeable difference being the opening that acts as an entrance door. The interior space is austere with only two elevations indicating sleeping places. The walls are gilded with paint and gold leaf, from floor to ceiling, turning the interior building into a reflector. At nightfall, the Golden Hall becomes a sort of granite Toro, a beacon that points the way. One of the walls will be decorated with a scallop shell, a healing object.
Abraham Poincheval, Behind the Porthole
Live on your own
The hut does not look much and yet, under its roof, centuries of history… The project of Elias Guenoun was born in 2021 in Livinhac-le-Haut (Aveyron). A staunch defender of reuse, the architect built his thinking around the destruction of two old buildings in the village. He found all the woodwork from the 18th century. The beams thus enabled him to build the foundations of his refuge. The facade is made of wood from old brushed and sanded door panels. Without water or electricity, the hut invites you to enjoy a moment of sobriety in the heart of the greenery.
Living alone, in a wooden hut built only with what we found on site.
Isolate yourself for a while, rest.
Read, write a little. Then fall asleep.
To consider what the future holds.
And on the road again.
Elias Guenoun, Behind the Porthole
The Cistern Bed
Designed by Fred Sancère, creator of the Derrière le porthole association, and the collective of architects Encore Joyeux, the Citerne-lit is surprising. Described by the authors as a “camouflage project”, this mobile refuge fits perfectly into the agricultural landscape. And for good reason, “The cistern bed borrows as much from the peasant universe (where it comes from), as from that of the space capsule (by its reduced and ergonomic dimensions) or even that of unusual or experiential housing to provide another night in an art object”we can read on the site of the artistic collective.
In 2021, the capsule welcomed hikers and hikers in the town of Felzins for two months, before moving on to new stages, still just as rural!
In 2022, three new art refuges will join the collection in Saint-Alban-sur-Limagnole (Lozère), Limogne-en-Quercy (Lot) and La Romieu (Gers). Hikers and hikers, keep your eyes peeled!