Country house near Lake La Salle
Val-Morin, Quebec, Canada
Ongoing project 2020 —
Architecture: Jflemay Architecture and Design
Structural engineering: Poincaré Experts-Conseils
Mechanical engineering: Pageau Morel et Associés
LEED consultant: Écohabitation
The client acquired a 1.2-hectare woodland near Lake La Salle in order to build an ecological house benefiting from a panoramic view of the lake and a southern exposure.
We were appointed to design the house in January 2020 with a brief including three bedrooms, three bathrooms and a separate garage. The client asked for an engineered timber structure clad in stone, covered with green roofs and certified LEED.
The Client and Jflemay developed this design over three years. We tendered the project to several contractors, but ultimately the cost exceeded the Client’s budget. In the meantime, the Client’s needs also evolved. In April 2023, we agreed on a smaller brief: two bedrooms, one bathroom, one large room for living and dining, and no garage.
The original design had two pavilions; we kept only one, reusing the timber structure agreed with the engineer in the first phase, and extending the structure to accommodate all rooms on one storey. The simplified design retains key elements of the client’s brief from January 2020: the expressed timber structure, the accessible green roof and the ecological credential.
One arrives by car at the top of the site, which slopes steadily towards the lake. Consequently we have placed the house near the top of the site, close to the parking and benefiting from the high view. The house is entered from the rear. There, a bridge leads to the green roof, which extends to become a balcony with the highest possible view from this site.
The house itself is entered from under the bridge, which protects the doorway from rain and snow. Similarly, the roof balcony protects the house from the southern sun. The whole southern wall is a glazed sliding door leading to a second balcony, this one cantilevering into the forest.
Inside, a wood stove made of glazed tiles, of the Austrian “kachelofen” type, keeps the house warm in winter without ever posing a hazard to touch. The walls are aligned with the expressed timber beams. Outside, the house is clad in untreated cedar, which will naturally shed its colour in the sylvan environment.