Max’s House in a Small Lake


On the edge of a border


Research, often, is a path orientated by incoherent choices, and yet the willingness to be permeated by the unexpected often reveals new keys to the comprehension of reality, which, being by its very nature constructed from a geography and from a relatively infinite time, is unstable and insecure. Our present is just one of the possible outcomes of reality and its progressive fulfilment in history is perhaps casual. Every day of every life passed could have been different. Those thoughts stimulated the ideation of Max’s house in a small lake.

Antonino Cardillo, Max’s House in a Small Lake, Nimes, 2008. CGI: Antonino Cardillo

The house looks like the transfiguration of a boat set against the wooded banks of a little lake in the countryside of Nimes, in the south of France: a human landing stage on the edge of a natural border. The building is made up of two entities contrasting over two levels: a compact basement in travertine comprises the hall and bedroom on whose terrace is set a high, luminous living room, articulated by a slender white metal structure.

Antonino Cardillo, Max’s House in a Small Lake, Nimes, 2008. CGI: Antonino Cardillo

This at the same time designs the partito of the windows. The landscape, from within, is thus broken up into quadrants and undergoes an analytical process of reconstruction. The arrangement of the metallic elements, then, regulates the sunlight: a brise-soleil screens it at midday, while deep containing walls, covered in teak and suspended a metre off the floor, partially occlude the morning and afternoon light.

Antonino Cardillo, Max’s House in a Small Lake, Nimes, 2008. CGI: Antonino Cardillo

Antonino Cardillo, Max’s House in a Small Lake, Nimes, 2008. CGI: Antonino Cardillo

Outside, to the south, the living area extends its planks so as to lap the pool. Beyond the mirror of water, in an ambiguous and inaccessible place, a portico measures the landscape. To the north of the glass room, a textile parabola, stretched between the two edges of the building, shades the external dining area. Lastly, the eccentric collocation of a tower for the stairs determines oblique perceptions of the internal space.

Antonino Cardillo, Max’s House in a Small Lake, Nimes, 2008. CGI: Antonino Cardillo

Antonino Cardillo, Max’s House in a Small Lake, Nimes, 2008. CGI: Antonino Cardillo


Time: May‑July 2008
Place: Nimes, France
Area: 290 m² (two storeys)
Typology: detached house

Tags: , ,


Architecture design: Antonino Cardillo
Computer-generated imagery: Antonino Cardillo
Text: Antonino Cardillo
English translation: Charles Searson

Selected publications

Kirsten Wenzel, ‘Der Architekt als Maerchenerzaehler’,, Berlin, 17 Jan. 2019.

Jeanette Kunsmann, Stephan Burkoff, ‘Architektur und Wahrheit’, DEAR Magazin, no. 1, Berlin, Apr. 2017, pp. 68‑85.

Carolin Höfler, ‘Hyper desire’, paper presented to the Wunsch, Technische Hochschule Köln, Cologne, 1 June 2016.

Carolin Höfler, ‘Faked Reality. Die Traumhäuser von Antonino Cardillo’, paper presented to the Constructed Realities, ed. Chris Dähne, Frederike Lausch and Bettina Rudhof, Goethe‑Universität, Deutsche Architekturmuseum, Frankfurt am Main, 1 Dec. 2015.

Gerard Houllard, ‘Über die mediatisierte Repräsentation von Architektur’,, vol. 4, no. 1, International Association for Cultural Studies in Architecture, Basel, May 2013, pp. 8‑11.

Hubertus Adam, ‘Analog/Digital’, in S AM, no. 10, Schweizerisches Architekturmuseum, Basel, March 2013, pp. 19, 28.

Birgit Ochs, ‘Architekturentwürfe: es möchte echt sein’, Sonntagszeitung, no. 6, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Frankfurt am Main, 10 Feb. 2013, p. V9.

Stefano Mirti, Gioia Guerzoni, ‘Siamo specchi l’uno dell’altro’, Opere, no. 32, Florence, Oct. 2012, pp. 4, 52‑56.

Daniel Lordick, ‘Die Entkoppelung von Entwurf und Darstellung’, Competition, no. 2, Berlin, Oct. 2012, p. 78.

Carl Zillich, with Fabrizio Gallanti, Lars Krückeberg, Volkwin Marg, Wolfram Putz, Peter Reischer, Andreas Ruby, Tobias Walliser, Thomas Willemeit, ‘Causa Cardillo: “Geht’s noch ohne Hochstapelei?”’,, Berlin, 10 Sept. 2012.

Peter Reischer, ‘Grandiose Luftschlösser’, Am Sonntag, no. 32, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Zurich, 5 Sept. 2012, p. 35.

Christian Holl, ‘Alles nur gerendert — und jetzt?’,, Stuttgart, 29 Aug. 2012.

Gabriele Detterer, ‘Phantasie und Wirklichkeit’, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, no. 164, Zurich, 17 July 2012, p. 40.

Eleonora Carrano, ‘Il caso Cardillo: uno dei 30 architetti più importanti del mondo e l’architettura inesistente’,, Rome, 13 July 2012.

Alessandro Alviani, ‘Cardillo, l’architetto delle case inesistenti’, La Stampa, vol. 146, no. 182, Turin, 3 July 2012, p. 37.

Susanne Beyer, ‘Hochstapler: Römische Ruinen’, Der Spiegel, no. 27/12, Hamburg, 2 July 2012, pp. 3, 121‑123.

Peter Reischer, ‘Schöner Klonen’, Falter, no. 19/12, Vienna, 9 May 2012, pp. 30‑31.

Helen Geng Haizhen, ‘印象派建筑师’, Interior Architecture of China, Beijing, Nov. 2011, pp. 60‑63.

Karina González Fauerman, ‘Simpleza visual’, Entremuros, Reforma, Mexico City, Apr. 2011, p. 56.

Antonino Cardillo, ‘Max’s House in a Small Lake’, in Architecture Zone, vol. I, ed. Xing Rihan, Rihan, Hong Kong, June 2010, pp. 38‑45.

Ridhi Kale, ‘Poetry of space’, Home, India Today, Mumbai, Jan. 2010, p. 50.

Thomson Carpenter, ‘Physical poetry’, DNA, no. 119, Sydney, Dec. 2009, p. 105.

Devyani Jayakar, ‘A house in a lake’, Inside Outside, no. 286, Mumbai, Apr. 2009, pp. 74‑81.

Antonino Cardillo, ‘湖之屋苑——麦克斯住宅’, Landscape Architect, no. 1/09, Dalian, Jan. 2009, pp. 34‑37.

Antonino Cardillo, ‘Emotional space’, B1 Magazine, no. 15, ed. Jakkrit Angsutti, Bangkok, Jan. 2009, pp. 95‑98.

Antonino Cardillo, ‘Antik Roma karakterinde ortaçağ, ruhu’, Tasarim, no. 186, Istanbul, Nov. 2008, p. 50.

Antonino Cardillo, ‘Considering coherency’,, ed. Niki May Young, London, 29 Sept. 2008.