Set against the backdrop of a dense forest, in rural Québec, Atelier Pierre Thibault’s La Maison Haute sits discreetly atop a plateau halfway up a steep hill. The forest, which consists primarily of mature trees, encircles Lac Clair, making for a scenic setting. The pale wood of the holiday home blends in seamlessly with the snow covered slopes, rendering the house invisible on a winter’s day.
Designed as a modern chalet, La Maison Haute consists of two volumes, connected by a covered walkway. The smaller of the two volumes encloses a single storey sitting room, warmed by a hearth. Modestly sized, the enclosed volume serves well as a snug, intimate shelter, slightly detached from the bustle and clamour of the main unit. A large, panoramic window allows the residents to enjoy the comforts of a blazing fire and comfortable couch, whilst observing the forest and all of its inhabitants, furry, feathered and leafy alike.
Meanwhile, the larger volume consists of the kitchen and several bedrooms, along with all the main facilities of the house.
Atelier Pierre Thibault takes advantage of the natural light, replacing much of the wall with glass windows. The result is a chalet which can function with little aid from artificial light during daylight hours.
The master bedroom overlooks the lake, offering a magnificent view of both the foliage and the serene body of water.
The floors of the 215 m2 home are composed of oak, appealing to the natural aesthetic of the design, while the walls and ceiling are clad in cedar. The pale wood, paired with high, double volume ceilings create a bright, airy atmosphere, nearly devoid of weight.
Meanwhile, a narrow strip is cut from the floor, allowing sunlight to penetrate even the furthest depth of the abode, namely the basement.
The Québec-based firm explores the relationship between the residents and the expanse of nature upon which the dwelling was built. The architecture itself expresses simplicity and minimalism, as it melts into the landscape allowing the inhabitants of the chalet to experience the rush of the wind billowing through the trees with none of its chills and to hear the dappled fall of the rain, with none of its moisture.
Atelier Pierre Thibault takes a considerate, sensitive approach to design and allows nature to inspire the architecture of La Maison Haute. In a period of rapid urbanisation, there is a tendency to overlook nature, favouring smaller gardens and less green space. However, this firm takes full advantage of the rural landscape, setting the chalet amidst a plethora of natural beauty that is part of the Canadian wilderness.
All images are courtesy of Maxime Brouillet.
This article was researched and written by Sonia Jin, an undergraduate student of Environmental Design, University of British Columbia.