On a curiously arid and rocky landscape in France some 15 kilometer behind Cannes and overlooking Grasse lie the houses of Castellaras-le-Neuf. All were designed by Jacques Couelle, who has also been described as poet, visionary, sculpture, artist, biologist, archeologist, and philosopher. More accurately, perhaps one should say Couelle's houses crouch rather than lie over the baking rocks from which they grow like overcrops of stone themselves. From the exterior there is no visible straight line or rectangle; as Couelle points out, in nature these do not exist. All is sculpture. Some of the houses look like caves, others have twisted Guadi-like concrete shapes. Certainly each is an expression of the beliefs and personality of Couelle. He defines his houses as habitable sculptures. The houses at Castellaras-le-Neuf, which may be visited only on invitation, are clustered about a 17th century chateau that forms a social center. Their material of construction is what the French call beton projete- concrete sprayed onto mesh reinforcement that may be placed around core walls of blockwork. Couelle's ideal is to work on site with a megaphone, directing operations, digging with a pneumatic drill into the rough-hewn rock and adding the missing volumes with a cement gun that vaporizes a dry-mixed concrete. His houses are said to catch and trap light. But it isn't only the light he strives to encircle but the natural landscape as well. It is easy to be flippant about Couelle's ideas but surely we could occasionally do with some of them. In any case, one can't deny that Jacques Couelle managed to make his architecture a medium for personal expression. That, in this day and age, seems a rather a pleasing thought.