Nestled into a bucolic site in Wentworth, Quebec, is a beautifully strategic and innovative dwelling - La Héronnière. Designed by Quebec Architect Alain Carle, this compelling residence is artfully integrated into the natural landscape.
The owners - a young couple with two children - requested a dwelling which embodied their eco-friendly values, both literally and metaphorically. This included engineering the homestead into its rocky site, creating an engaging organic composition that blurs the lines between shelter and nature. The design still managed to incorporate several non-negotiable conditions of critical importance to the clients, including:
- no electromagnetic field
- no wireless communication protocol
- recovery and reclamation of residual construction materials
- eco-friendly materials free of environmentally hazardous chemical compounds
- self-sufficient energy sources through a system of photovoltaic panels, etc.
Constructed of concrete, steel, wood and glass, the building materials echo the natural surroundings, creating visual continuity and cohesiveness. The structures' organic shapes not only blend the man-made with its setting, but the form and layout are aligned to the path of the sun in order to capture its energy more efficiently.
Wanting ot preserve the state of the environmen and connect the natural materiality of the home to the site, the buildings were nestled into a steep hill between substantial boulder formations. Alain Carle Architecte placed a horizontal platform as a base, which rests on the three large stones already present on the site. In accordance to this horizontal plane, the design features a hierarchy that divides the home into two sections: above the platform, and below it.
Below are the active living spaces for the young family, while above are the sleeping and relaxation areas, comprised of a softer, more calming arrangement.
The ground residue from the construction was collected and transformed into an outdoor plateau – a sort of metaphorical treatment of the local environment after the construction and excavation process.
Incorporated into the dwelling is a greenhouse complete with a drainage system, further supporting the family's commitment to sustainable living on their land.
La Héronnière is an astounding example of self-sufficiency, that completely redefines not only sustainability, but the role of architecture as a whole.
For more fantastic creations like this, please visit Alain Carle Architecte.
All photography provided by Adrien Williams.
Researched and Written by Mikhail Shchupak-Katsman, Undergraduate Environmental Design, OCAD University