Hossegor

Architecture

Hossegor - a personality, a style, an identity

Between the two wars splendid villas were built all over Hossegor, on the sea front, on the lakeside, along the golf course…The seaside resort stands out for the unity and originality of an unknown style. The Basco-landaise house is a mixture of Art Deco influences that are sometimes hispanic and underline the identity of the town. Hossegor came on the scene after the wave of spas and seaside resorts and, while inheriting a certain number of their characteristics, soon became the workshop for visionary architects who reconciled modern techniques and regional inspiration, thus inventing a new style.

The Labourdine style houses one can see in the Basque countryside have been transposed and, with additional architectural influences from les Landes, have been adapted to the way of life of a seaside resort. This unequal synthesis gave birth to the Basco-Landais style favoured by a number of remarkable architects such as Henri Godbarge, Louis Lagrange, Louis et Benjamin Gomez, Léon Cuzol, Jean Prunetti, Albert Pomade... brought together by Alfred Eluère (developer then mayor of the town) to build the garden-city. "There's no doubt", affirms Maxime Leroy in the preface to his book Villas d'Hossegor (1933), "Hossegor owes its second success to these architects, the first going by right to the writers who came here around 1900".
Henri Godbarge, the theoretician of the basco-landais style, and in collaboration with the Gomez brothers, designed the Hotel du Lac and the Sporting casino. This latter is now classified a Historic Monument and is an example of the use of the basco-landais style when applied to large buildings.
The same can be said for the clubhouse - once the porter's lodge - signed by the Gomez brothers , and for which the arts pavilion built for the fifteenth regional fair in Hossegor in 1927 was rebuilt.

Around four hundred villas were built in the period between the two wars, all in the same architectural style. La Chartreuse, Primerose, Aguilera, Maya, Adichatz, Le Repos, Les Chênes-Lièges, Romance… these are predominantly holiday homes with terraces and loggias nestling in a park. Opened up, the summer villas look out to the sea, while the winter villas hide within gardens. Bay windows allow the sun to come in and turns the eye towards the interior. The servants' quarters, cellars and the chauffeur' s room are located in the basement and the ground and first floor are used for the reception and living rooms. The mild climate can be enjoyed on balconies and in tall galleries and rotundas. The architects simplify the elaborate volume of the complicated layout, then round off the corners and seek reference in classical french or italian architecture rather than in the picturesque anglo-saxon.
Some include hispanic details gleaned from the mudejar style and from the Spanish Renaissance.

The design of the villas corresponds perfectly to the neo-classic or Art deco styles that were chosen for the interior decoration of the casino and some of the hotels.


As for the facades, they are typically gascon and landais. Timber frames, white or rendered white facades, protruding walls, corbels, loggias, staircases and red brick are all used to create a diversity of design.

While some villas have now been sold to developers and converted into flats, the majority have been restored and Hossegor is doted with a cluster of buildings whose harmony and architectural qualities only add to the interest and beauty of the town.

The Labourdine style houses one can see in the Basque countryside have been transposed and, with additional architectural influences from les Landes, have been adapted to the way of life of a seaside resort. This unequal synthesis gave birth to the Basco-Landais style favoured by a number of remarkable architects such as Henri Godbarge, Louis Lagrange, Louis et Benjamin Gomez, Léon Cuzol, Jean Prunetti, Albert Pomade... brought together by Alfred Eluère (developer then mayor of the town) to build the garden-city. "There's no doubt", affirms Maxime Leroy in the preface to his book Villas d'Hossegor (1933), "Hossegor owes its second success to these architects, the first going by right to the writers who came here around 1900".
Henri Godbarge, the theoretician of the basco-landais style, and in collaboration with the Gomez brothers, designed the Hotel du Lac and the Sporting casino. This latter is now classified a Historic Monument and is an example of the use of the basco-landais style when applied to large buildings.
The same can be said for the clubhouse - once the porter's lodge - signed by the Gomez brothers , and for which the arts pavilion built for the fifteenth regional fair in Hossegor in 1927 was rebuilt.

Around four hundred villas were built in the period between the two wars, all in the same architectural style. La Chartreuse, Primerose, Aguilera, Maya, Adichatz, Le Repos, Les Chênes-Lièges, Romance… these are predominantly holiday homes with terraces and loggias nestling in a park. Opened up, the summer villas look out to the sea, while the winter villas hide within gardens. Bay windows allow the sun to come in and turns the eye towards the interior. The servants' quarters, cellars and the chauffeur' s room are located in the basement and the ground and first floor are used for the reception and living rooms. The mild climate can be enjoyed on balconies and in tall galleries and rotundas. The architects simplify the elaborate volume of the complicated layout, then round off the corners and seek reference in classical french or italian architecture rather than in the picturesque anglo-saxon.
Some include hispanic details gleaned from the mudejar style and from the Spanish Renaissance.

The design of the villas corresponds perfectly to the neo-classic or Art deco styles that were chosen for the interior decoration of the casino and some of the hotels.


As for the facades, they are typically gascon and landais. Timber frames, white or rendered white facades, protruding walls, corbels, loggias, staircases and red brick are all used to create a diversity of design.

While some villas have now been sold to developers and converted into flats, the majority have been restored and Hossegor is doted with a cluster of buildings whose harmony and architectural qualities only add to the interest and beauty of the town.

Discovery suggestions: Thursdays, a day of architecture

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