Text description provided by the architects. A playful rural industrial Aesthetic. The Abercorn Chalet is nestled in the vales of the Eastern Townships, near the Vermont border. The goal was to create a unique living experience through architecture, embodying contrasts of harmony, open spaces and cozy areas. From the road, the house looks like a modest contemporary cottage.
However it actually consists of four large interconnected black modules that sit above a first level concrete structure, dressed in raw cedar. With several offset façades, each one contains ample windows that overlook an in-ground pool and a garage/workshop. The group of structures is reminiscent of a farm, with a central courtyard and outbuildings.
Walking around the chalet allows you to explore new aspects of the architecture at every step and gives you the feeling that there is always something to discover through a new perspective. The entry ways and exits of the chalet are inspired by the contour lines of the ground, and thus allow the visitors to return progressively in contact with the building and to have new points of view on the surrounding countryside. The entry points are also sheltered, therefore allowing visitors to appreciate the design throughout all seasons and weather conditions.
Inspirations: Industry, Barns and Campgrounds. “Think of a pig barn,” The Designer would tell suppliers with a laugh, trying to shock them while pointing out the project’s rough and playful sides. The interior use of traditional exterior cladding, like corrugated or profiled sheet metal, painted black or gold, disrupts reference points and creates a feeling of being outside while actually remaining indoors. “You get the same effect while camping, where you feel as though you are part of nature and yet are protected.”
The northern orientation of the lot and certain other constraints led to the optimization of the building’s positioning, and to a clever arrangement of the windows—including the skylights—to favour the entry of light according to the hour of day, the seasons and livelihood inside the house. The concept team analyzed the trajectory of the sun and modelled its reflections on the sheet-metal walls.
As the hours go by, the light can create interesting shadows and animations indoors. No air conditioning was necessary but particular attention was given to the positioning of open windows and patio doors to create fresh air circulation in each room.The building plan was organized around 2 axes: The creation of spaces to allow for circulation, wide or narrow, which stimulate curiosity, all while favouring the functional use of the area. The play on the axes of perspectives, either through the windows or from one level to another, to provide different points of view through the spaces of the home and also allow nature to penetrate the interior.
Two suspended terraces have been integrated into the extension of the building to accentuate its linearity in the space. One is located on the east side, to allow occupants to benefit from the rising sun as they enjoy their morning coffee. The second is on the west side, where they can benefit from the pleasure of the end of a summer day. Access to this terrace by a wide patio door and a descending staircase are inspired by the image of a boat bridge. You can admire the horizon and the view of the three ponds while walking.