On the vast Lac Ouareau, located near the town of Saint-Donat, sits a charming traditional house surrounded by birch trees. The owners, a dynamic stepfamily, commissioned ACDF to design for their many children a larger area to play and relax. In order to make sure everyone in the family can find a peaceful corner when spending time together, the architects created an addition that mirrors the original building’s dimensions. The extension preserves and pays tribute to the historic house while reflecting the beauty of the landscape it inhabits.
The new space – a white prism standing on a concrete pedestal – appears like a refined version of the existing house. Through this contrasting effect, the extension maintains a connection to the original building and its location. The sheet metal roof and wood cladding resemble the smooth and shiny bark of birch trees growing on the site; its hues and textures also recall the whitewashed walls of countryside barns.
On the ground floor, an open-plan space and large windows allow spectacular views on the lake. Polished concrete floors and natural wood details are used with simplicity, emphasizing the materials’ richness. Surrounded by black slatted wood, the central fireplace creates a relaxing ambience and an oasis of comfort in the vast living room. Built-in benches offer private spaces in common areas and cleverly include hidden storage. The living room and its gaming table encourage the children to make the space their own, providing playful and relaxing family time.
The architects designed the new master bedroom at the lower level. Nested in a cliff, the room benefits from the descending topography of the site and receives plenty of sunlight.
The transition from the old house to the new one takes place on a glass bridge. From the extension, an oak wood frame directs views toward the inside of the existing house, the frame’s warm shade matching the old wood planks. The truncated shape of the bridge makes it wide enough to occupy: a welcomed pause in the landscape, floating over a garden. The bridge’s axis aligns the kitchen of the existing building and the new living room. Even when they are seated apart, family members can keep an eye on each other and share quality time.
The transformation orchestrated by ACDF marries the lovely patina of the traditional house to the extension’s clean lines. A variety of new spaces inside the family home gives the owners a place to enjoy each other and the landscape.
Official name of the project: Chalet La petite soeur
Location: Saint-Donat, Quebec, Canada
Project end date: 2018
Area: 1,400sq ft (130m2)
Architects: Maxime-Alexis Frappier, Patrick Morand, Yoanna Anastassova, Kassandra Bonneville, Mireille Létourneau, Romilda Reda
Project manager: Patrick Morand
Collaborators: Étienne Hotte
Photographer: Adrien Williams
About ACDF Architecture
Montreal-based and globally focused, ACDF is one of Canada’s most energetic and exuberant young architecture firms. Over the past nine years, the studio has enjoyed a bold ascent and continues to complete even-more ambitious, design-savvy projects at every scale, including commercial, residential, hospitality, interiors and master planning projects. Under the direction of Maxime-Alexis Frappier, Joan Renaud and Etienne Laplante Courchesne the studio’s work is timeless and highly tailored, with trim lines and intelligent planning. Clever touches add levity - such as anamorphic patterns or unusual juxtapositions of materials that instill a sense of spirit.
The studio engages each client with a high-degree of care, building a strong relationship based on open communication and respect. ACDF respects time line and budgetary constraints while creating custom spaces that reflect the client’s brand, from the overall concept down to the smallest details.
ACDF architecture is known for their design approach, which places the user at the center of their work, while maintaining a rigor that permits the successful realization of complex projects within rigid constraints. Their architecture is developed as a narrative that sensitively responds to the existing context, the project program, the client’s needs, and the given budget. Every project is founded on a unique clear language that fosters bold and lively designs, in which architecture generates prosperity on the social, economic, and cultural scales.
The quality of ACDF’s projects has been repeatedly acknowledged by the appointment of 40 awards and accolades, including the appointment of the 2010 Canadian Governor General’s Award and, more recently, the prestigious award and title of Architect of the Year in Canada (40 years and under) awarded by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. Their work has also been published in more than 50 magazines world-wide.