ESPACE VITAL architecture is a Quebecois firm based in Sherbrooke and Montreal. It has a vast repertoire of creative projects across Canada, designing private and public buildings which includes residences such as this one near Sherbrooke, a small town with a population of around 161,350 people.
Located about 160 kilometers east of Montreal (about an hour's drive from the city via Autoroute 10 O), Sherbrooke is a municipality of Southern Quebec that was originally known as Hyatt's Mill, it was renamed after Sir John Coape Sherbrooke (1764–1840), a British general who was Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia (1812–1816), and Governor General of British North America (1816–1818)
Résidence Piette-Ekemberg - Front Facade
This house has both a minimal and modernist design that reflects the stylings of Richard Neutra's designs found in the 1960s California desert landscape. Although the era and surrounding landscape are extremely different, the contemporary form is incorporated into the landscape to create a relationship between the two elements of the site as a whole.
One of the key factors in uniting the home and its landscape is the use of local materials and a colour scheme that reflects the surrounding environment. As well, the linear structure seems as if it emerged as an anomaly from the landscape despite the lack of organic form. The same effect can be seen in Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Water House.
Site and floor plans of the project.
To achieve the elevated cantilever effect, the main entrance, along with the garage, the office, closet, and the washroom are all found on the first floor. In addition, the staircase acts as a core to support the cantilevered second floor which hosts the home’s bedrooms with en-suites, kitchen, living area, and access to the second-floor deck which rests on top of the featured rock.
Once the cantilever reaches the boulder, the deck opens to the landscape, and one can step down from the deck, onto the rock, and into nature.
Covered deck off the kitchen which covers the large rock which this the project is focused on.
The separation between living rooms and entrance/garage creates a feeling of retreat for the homeowners, in comparison to sharing all square footage on one level. The stairwell feature attached to the house's rear also creates the same effect by being a modular extremity to the built form, rather than pushing the stairwell into the living space.
Another feature of the home that was well thought through is the deck. Having a covered exterior living space in a Canadian climate, in theory, means that space could be used year-round, protecting the occupants from snow, rain, wind, and other elements.
The rear of the home features the garage on the first floor with bedrooms on the second floor.
The combination of indoor and outdoor living spaces will offer the lucky residents the ability to enjoy the picturesque Canadian landscape that surrounds their modern home. The inspiration for this project also allows for an interesting discussion between the original homes by Richard Neutra and his desert oasis' in comparison to this modern dwelling set in the wild and rustic Canadian landscape.
To learn more about their impressive designs, visit ESPACE VITAL architecture.
All Images and references are courtesy of ArchDaily.
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Written and researched by Andrew Cara; Architecture Design, History, Theory, and Criticism. Undergraduate Student at the University of Toronto John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design.