With La Cadrée Perchée, L’Empreinte Design Architecture offers constant interaction with the outdoors through a home that reflects light and frames a wild, rejuvenating, and inspiring environment. As a demonstration of symbiosis with nature, this achievement reflects the benefits of architecture on the well-being and mental health of users.
In the heart of a maple grove, high up in the mountains bordering Lac Franc in Morin-Heights, in the Laurentians region of Quebec, Canada, this 3 bedroom, 195sqm (2,100-square-foot) residence was created by and for Pier-Olivier Lepage, founder of L’Empreinte Design Architecture. The entrepreneur’s vision was to take advantage of the vital energy of nature on a daily basis.
“I spend a lot of time working from home,” he explains. “However, I concentrate better when I feel connected to the outdoors. Otherwise, I am distracted by thoughts of going out to enjoy the outdoors.”
Enriching the experience of the forest
With its abundant fenestration, La Cadrée Perchée allows you to savor the panorama of the site from both sides of the building, comprised of several glass frames perched on the side of the mountain and facing the treetops. It gives the impression of leading to the top of the forest. Nature is put forward by the through view, but also through materials, both exterior and interior, where wood is omnipresent as a finishing element.
To maximize transparency in the east-west orientation, the interior layout offers solutions such as a sofa recessed in a pit, a minimalist low-profile kitchen, and storage units grouped in circulation islands. The simplicity of the whole highlights the wood and the landscape as the main components of the decor.
“The eye is sensitive to contrast,…Therefore, I opted for a sober environment that brings out the essentials. You sometimes feel like the king of the forest, and other times its far more humbling
In order to vary the views of the wooded area, the house was set up on the slope of the land through different strata of trees. The orientation also allows for enjoyable moments such as sunrise and sunset views.
In response to the need for light therapy, one of the design challenges was to maximize the contribution of the sun, while avoiding overheating. The shape of La Cadrée Perchée was therefore inspired by the principle of a radiator, thus increasing the diffusion surface of its exterior walls and its multiple wooden frames. They absorb heat and reflect light, which gives the illusion of sunshine in the house.
Private outdoor space
The project bears witness to economical and artisanal solutions, including a ceiling entirely composed of mounting furring strips, and exterior cladding made of fence boards. And despite its restricted surface area, it also suggests a functional and convivial space. Among other things, the living room, inspired by Japanese kotatsu, allows groups to enjoy optimal comfort for an entire evening around a fire, over a movie, or while eating dinner. For its part, the bedroom responds to the desire of users to enjoy a private space conducive to rest, work, or relaxation. The aforementioned space includes a bed, a built-in desk, and a bathtub, all oriented towards a window wall overlooking the forest.
There are two terraces arranged in alcoves at the front and at the back of the residence. During the hotter months, the climate of the building is tempered by solar control and natural ventilation, without concealing the fauna and flora that surround it and accentuate the feeling of living in the open air. Other attributes also blur the boundaries between interior and exterior, including the continuity of perfectly matched wooden ceilings and walls, mullionless glass, and white floors that blend into the snow.
The raw appearance and relief of the openwork finish wood recall the woody character of maple bark. The warm and nuanced color is like its leaves. The concrete floors have been bleached to increase clarity and simplify the overall color composition.