Jean-Michel Humbert earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees in Architecture at the National Superior School of Architecture in Nancy. Since 2006, JM has led the design and construction of residential, adaptive re-use, commercial and educational projects. JM founded PlanH in 2012 in Paris. Since August 2021 JM is a Certified Passive House Designer from the Passive House Institue.
Believing that architecture is a humanistic approach that considers not only a client’s needs and site considerations, but also the cultural and economic environment, solutions are realized that are contextual, yet conceptual and visionary in their intent, effect, and appeal. Projects emphasize conceptual experience by creating environments that are both socially responsive and aesthetically progressive. The forces of volumetric landscapes, material integrity, and the sculpting of natural light, as well as the purity of spatial volumes, create solutions to pragmatic requirements of the client, constructability, and context.
OUR DESIGN VALUES
A significant work of architecture expresses its purpose via physical solutions. As with any form of design, in architecture artful solutions are the goals to be sought. With PLAN H, these solutions are frequently inspired by the following values, which find physical expression in ways directly related to the particular client, program, and design problem. We have outlined these key values time and again, only to revisit and tweak them ever so slightly. These are the ideas that tie our projects together under the ‘PLAN H’ umbrella. The presence of one or more of these elements is what creates our signature - our indelible mark in the book of design.
Every project is unique in its surroundings. No matter how common the use – whether it is residential, hospitality, office – every project has a distinct mix of site influences: geography, history, landscape, urban. We find some of our greatest design inspiration in the context. By working back and forth between the design of the building and analysis of the site, a strong connection can be developed between the two
Honesty of Materials
If architecture is the statement, materials are the words: how we communicate our design. We choose materials based on their particular properties and rarely try to alter or conceal them. Materials can express the relationship of the project to the site, to the landscape, or to an idea. Through materials we can define qualities of space to suit a specific use.
As part of our keenness to connect each project to its surroundings, we often work to blend interior and exterior spaces into a single, fluid experience. Whether this means opening rooms onto concealed courtyards, or pulling the landscape into the home via folded gardens, we aim to infuse natural light, air, and views throughout as much of the interior as possible.
Expansion of Space
We often seek to create a sense of space expanding beyond physical bounds. Overlapping functional zones can lead to open floor plans, which provide opportunities not only for borrowed views which hint of space beyond, but also for flexibility which can transform spaces. We can divide spaces with flexible constructions that conceal or reveal a variety of functions, to allow possibilities of unity or compartmentalization within a single space.
Expression of Technique
A physical characteristic can connect the project to its site and contribute to its unique identity. On every project, we develop custom details, which are inspired by the materials we use, analysis of the context, and performance. We see each detail as an opportunity to express our ingenuity, as we seek the most direct and honest approach to a problem, in pursuit of an elegant solution.
As the light changes, so changes the experience of space, and the design becomes a living thing. One of our most valued and powerful design resources is natural light, as a means of directing focus, highlighting materials, and creating experience. The power of light is both psychological and physical, as light greatly influences both mood and well-being. We strive to incorporate multiple sources of natural light within every project, to foster a richly varied experience.