U house / NDA

Architects: Natalie Dionne Architecture
Location: Montreal, Canada
DesignYear: 2003
Construction Year: 2007
Photographs: Marc Cramer

model axo


The U-House was designed by architect Natalie Dionne to house both the family residence and her office space. Along with her partner, who works in cinema, she drew plans and began construction in 2003. Originally, the couple bought a small industrial building and a rare vacant lot adjacent to it. The U plan was achieved by adding two additions to the original building, one at each end of the vacant lot.

model axo

The U-House exploits the idea of fluidity between interior and exterior spaces. The Ipê deck which is an extension of the dining room’s inlaid floor helps to confound the boundary between inside and outside when the large accordion style door is opened. At the other end of the L shaped deck, one of the original buildings huge windows is actually a garage door that also opens up fully to seamlessly integrate the living room with the . For added spatial continuity and a layered effect, the wood and steel façade elements of the new additions were mapped to the interior.

Doors and windows of Cedro wood, marine plywood panels and cedar bifold shutters are all stained for uniformity and mimic the color of the brick on the original building (dating back to 1926).

A large Sunburst Honey Locust was planted the day after the foundations were poured to provide shade to the largely fenestrated south facing façade during the hot summer months. Its acid yellow foliage in early spring inspired the accent color found throughout the interior.

In summer, at night, the upstairs windows are opened and the shutters are closed. This ensures sufficient ventilation, guarantees privacy, protects from the rain, and keeps the south-facing rooms nicely cool.

Cite: "U house / NDA" 20 Feb 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 30 Jul 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=13121>

10 comments

  1. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I’m not a fan of the decorating choices they’ve made here (which feel like decoration, and remind me of a cheesy hotel). But the actual building is pretty strong. I like the windows very much, and the arrangement of the rooms, and the courtyard. And the facade is pleasantly unassuming. Good building, not so good taste inside, I feel. The should hire whoever redid that apartment in the last post.

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  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    nice harmony of interior and courtyard,
    fine details of the facades in the courtyard,
    the yellow on wood is great.

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    .. i like the interior..specialy in conjunction with the courtyard ..the is a little bit of magic :) like in a hidden garden

  4. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Excellent design solution! I like the materials, layout and general ambience of the space. Also think the decorating could be better though, but that’s a personal touch.

  5. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Could anybody tell me by which program the renders where made? I think they ‘re very legible. The information would be very helpful.

  6. Thumb up Thumb down 0

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