Family home reinterprets American midcentury architecture for Montreal

Family home reinterprets American midcentury architecture for Montreal

Residence de l’Isle by Chevalier Morales is a family home that reinterprets the midcentury American house for the Canadian landscape and the 21st century

Newly built on the banks of a river in the northern suburbs of Montreal, this family home lies low and discreet among its leafy environs. The project is the brainchild of local architects Chevalier Morales. It offers a clever reintepretation of midcentury architecture, and in particular the iconic American modernist home; adjusted, here, for the Canadian landscape and the 21st century.

Working with classic, familiar materials, the architects envisaged a contemporary house made of clean, orthogonal volumes. Large openings and outdoor spaces connect with nature. Cleverly, everything fits within a 100 ft square footprint. 

The material palette includes clay brick for the walls, metal panel cladding, wood for the soffit and natural stone for flooring. This creates a restrainted, sophisticated external composition of browns, blacks and greys that doesn’t appear jarring within its green context. 

sunny day at residence de l’isle by chevalier morales
Photography: Chevallier Morales

However, inside the space becomes brighter, open and filled in natural light. White walls, sculptural, flowing interiors that blend architectural space and built-in fittings, and brass accents emphasise a warm and welcoming, contemporary domestic space. 

The architects wanted to ensure an organic integration of indoors and outdoors, as midcentury architecture often did, but maintain privacy. ‘The question of privacy versus openings, crucial in the 1950s, enables a response that creates two rectangular courtyards,’ they say. ‘They are inserted into the volume, bringing natural light into the heart of the residence, while also integrating the back yard and the swimming pool.’ 

The residence’s placement within its plot allowed the team to save as many exsting trees as possible. Meanwhile, new, large coniferous trees were planted in the courtyards. Natural vegetation, landscaped parts that use local flora, and the swimming pool’s water element towards the river, form a natural landscape that gently embraces this sensitively designed home. §

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