Maison Lac Jasper
In Chertsey, Canada, Maison Lac Jasper by Architecturama, a modern haven reclines into its woodland setting. Only many or family, the desired state of mind by the owners was relaxed and friendly, close to the idea of the chalet, but imbued with a certain refinement, particularly in relations between spaces and between people. The intention was to build this architecture, lively and enthusiastic, which appeals to the senses. The design process based on the context, the symbiosis with the site and reducing the environmental footprint also allowed to reflect the capabilities and optimization.
It is very rare to see in Quebec erecting a truly experimental architecture, especially in the residential area. This is normal: to build a house is very expensive and thus tends to limit the risks. Now, for the design of a cottage in Chertsey, team Architecturama was endangered by choosing a bold approach deeply. Centered around a common space occupied by a fully reconfigurable stepped structure, the result is unique and fundamentally original.
The building stands out for its extensive and versatile convertible space that occupies the entire south façade. Featuring a large picture window overlooking the lake and the magnificent Lanaudière landscape, it offers a splendid view and makes getting inside abundant natural light. north side, a series of small rooms (bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchen) are ingeniously fitted into the other, leaving maximum space for the main room. Furnished modular stands made of wood and steel, it has a friendly character who invites to reorganize as needed, allowing him to serve much studio work as a dormitory to house friends.
Still, the house slips discreetly into the landscape, its cedar siding is obtaining a gray patina that makes it disappear among the trees. Only a turquoise headband lets show through their originality.
“that was the word that summed up the jury’s discussions of this project. Nestled on a wooded, hillside property in the Lanaudière region is an unusual cottage, an intriguing cubic structure whose dominant feature is a modular bench system. These modular bleacher-style units, which simultaneously serve as oversized furniture, bookshelves and structural elements, are made of wood and can be reconfigured according to need. The structure can be arranged to form tables, beds, shelves and seating areas. This unconventional and changeable interior topography is completed by movable blocks, which can serve as end tables, back rests or steps.The kitchen, bathroom and mechanical areas are relegated to the back, letting this modular agora—from where the surrounding nature may fully be enjoyed—be the star of the show.” – Jury’s Comment/Grands Prix Du Design Awards
Whether visiting alone, with a large group of guests or as a family, the owners were looking for a relaxed, welcoming environment, conceptually similar to a cottage yet more refined, particularly in the relationships among spaces and between people. The goal was to have a present, living and enthusiastic architecture that engages the senses.
The design process, grounded in the setting, symbiosis with the site and a reduced environmental footprint, led to a reflection process on the functional elements and their optimization.
Minimum / maximum:
The functions are divided into two types. Minimalist spaces housing functions requiring built-in elements or greater privacy are clustered on the north side. A “maximal” space, containing all other functions, occupies the south side and allows free use of the space, open to interpretation and transformation.
Bleacher-style benches, meeting at right angles, are built into the main space. They are simultaneously oversized furniture, an agora, a circulation area, filters, dividers, bookshelves, structural elements, etc. They can be modified in three ways: as movable blocks that can be rearranged at will (for use as end tables, backrests, steps, etc.), as intermediate levels attached to the main structure but capable of being reconfigured regularly and, collectively, as benches resting on the concrete slab, which can be reassembled in an entirely different way.
On the south and west faces respectively, the benches are at ground level. Their incline extends the site’s topography to the inside of the house, thereby accentuating it. As a result, spaces are defined in a more or less porous manner. At the top the benches make it possible to enjoy the view while maintaining physical and visual continuity with the ground. Near the kitchen, the benches become both food preparation areas and tables seating up to eight people. The bench system is modular, and most of its constituent elements are standardized.
Senses and perception:
Contrasts, ambiances, materiality, lighting quality and modulated contact with the outside come together to create sensory experiences.
As if suspended between treetops, nature’s immanent spectacle takes place. In this observatory, the impression is both of being protected and projected. Both solemn and spiritual, the house comes to life and becomes something entirely different when several people are present. The agora layout is well suited to interaction. A fireplace, movie projector and feather cushions help people enjoy the space.
The space below is introverted and dense. Its light, filtered by the benches, is complex and ever-changing. Its many thin columns resemble trees in the forest. The minimal spaces are embracing and almost cave-like with their soft, dark, rich finishes.
At first glance, the difference between natural and built forms is highlighted. The close links uniting the architecture with nature emerge through ambiances, relationships, mimetic qualities, materials and light.
From the site-selection phase, optimizing bioclimatic potential was one of the project goals. By building the structure with a fully south-facing façade, the arrangement of the parcel made it possible to make the most of a set of windows with a fine view that maximize passive solar heating. A large overhang, designed to make use of the changing angle of the sun, prevents overheating in summer while admitting as much winter sunlight as possible.
The building’s elevated position and its orientation allow effective natural ventilation. Front windows that open at the bottom and rear windows that open at the top promote cross-drafts and take advantage of differential pressure.
With its cube shape and advantageous ratio of envelope to usable volume, the structure promotes energy efficiency and economical use of materials. The shape also made a smaller footprint possible. The white cedar tongue-and-groove siding, sourced from a local sawmill, was left in its natural state.
Project name: Maison Lac Jasper
Location: 95 Rue Jasper Nord, Chertsey, Québec J0K 3K0, Canada
Coordinates: 46.125261, -73.917096
- Type By Characteristic: Cabin / Hut / Cottage, Green & Sustainable House, Holiday House
- Type By Site: Lake House, Hill House
- Type By Size: Small House – (51 sqm – 200 sqm)
- Type By Materials: Wooden House
Project Area: 140 sqm
Construction Period: 2012-2014
Completion Year: 2014
Client / Owner / Developer: Private
Architects: Architecturama – 5997 Ave Louis-Hébert, Montreal, Quebec H2G 2G4, Canada
Design Team: Sylvain Bilodeau, Nicolas Mathieu-Tremblay
Structure: Genivar (now WSP)
General Contractor: Les entreprises Sylvain Lachance
Exterior cladding: Éco-Cèdre Inc.
Text Description: © Courtesy of Architecturama
Images: © Architecturama, James Brittain Photography