Dramatic yet at the same time homely and inviting, the Résidence des Grands Jardins is perched on the side of a mountain overlooking the St Lawrence River valley, within the Charlevoix region of Québec. This house is the latest offering by local architecture practice and 2011 wallpaper* Architects Directory participants Bourgeois Lechasseur and it merges contemporary style and a minimalist Nordic aesthetic, with the traditional cedar-wood chalet style of housing that is typically found in this region of Canada.
'When you arrive on site you can only see the first upper level of the house. Then when you are on the other side of the house, that is when the entirety of the structure can be seen and all its different levels,' explains head architect and company co-founder Olivier Bourgeois. The result is a welcome element of surprise for the visitor. A bridge connecting the parking space to the main entrance grants the house an extra level of privacy. Externally, the horizontal cedar wood planks are painted white, uniting the building's different parts in a contemporary approach.
One of the design's key elements is its large cantilevered overhang, which hosts the open plan living room, dining room and kitchen spaces. This impressive design gesture underlines the house's modern feel, but also gives the homeowners a generous space enclosed in glass that allows them to enjoy the vastness of the surrounding Petite-Rivière-St-François region. A standout feature of this volume is its steel X-Beams, which not only provide an interesting contrast against the soft, natural panorama, but also follow the client's desire to leave the steel structural elements exposed.
Internally, rich-red cedar wood panels - all locally sourced from Québec - against the exposed black painted steel framework and polished concrete floors create a contrast of colours and materials that balances between a warm family home and an artist's studio, or gallery space. Fittingly so, as the clients are avid art collectors and were looking forward to hanging some of their pieces - which include a big tableau in the living room and two in the bedroom by celebrated Canadian artist Dominic Besner - in their brand new home.