Matière Première Architecture has built a mini A-frame cottage, promoting a relaxed feel overlooking the lake in Estrie, Canada.
Named Chalet_A, the 75-square-metre cabin was designed for the new owners of this 1950’s property, who aspired to renovate and revitalize the cottage into a 21st-century home.
Located in the Eastern Townships, near Montréal, Matière Première Architecture designed this unique structure that sits on an evergreen forest, nearly touching the water on its breathtaking waterplane.
As the studio explained, “inaccessibility during the long winter months greatly contributed to accumulated neglect, essentially exposing the old cabin to years of harsh Canadian winters.”
The owners commissioned Canadian architecture practice Matière Première Architecture, and its affiliated construction company, Nu Drom, to design and renovate the 3-seasons cottage.
Based on a simple brief honoring the A-frame typology, with an emphasize on an ecological approach, the studio designed a series of spaces that promote its juxtaposition with the water, while optimizing the available space of the cottage for better usage.
Concept & interior spaces
The project includes a series of fluid and relaxing spaces, while offering a close relation to the lake.
The architecture beautifully captures the natural landscape that unfolds beyond its structure, which becomes fundamental to the living spaces with its offering of an intimate and cozy experience for its occupants.
The A-frame silhouette produces playful spaces, while continuously offering views towards the lake. This undisturbed relation with the exterior is held throughout the project, exposing the cycles and the rhythms of the ever-changing weather.
Conceived as a beach house, the choice of materials has an important role in the project. Although it may seem like a modest cottage, the interiors reflect the strength of rich materials.
The interior design emphasizes lighter tones in shades of white and sage to promote a relaxed feel. It also embraces casual furnishings, with welcoming rugs and linen accessories, to add warmth to the living spaces.
Considering an environmental approach, the architects used local, sustainable, and durable materials, including white pine flooring, exposed timber framing, and painted spruce boards.
On the other hand, more durable materials, such as natural white cedar siding, metal roofing, and aluminum windows, were used in the exterior design.
“These materials contribute to a controlled aging of the cabin without risking its longevity,” said Matière Première Architecture.
Although the house is built on a relatively small footprint, the cottage integrates multiple living spaces.
The A-frame main large window was shifted toward the interior to accommodate a larger exterior dining area, followed indoor by the living room and dining nook, all offering spectacular views of the lake through the large windows.
A new stair was relocated to a more discreet position at the rear of the dining nook, leading to a mezzanine. Nestled above the living room, it offers a cozy reading net facing the lake, while removing the need for a railing.
The compact kitchen adjoins the dining nook, and a separate dormitory pavilion sits adjacent to the main cottage, offering more space for guests.
According to the office, due to the steep and limited access to the site, more than 150 steps were required to access the cottage, resulting in difficult construction conditions.
Difficult access conditions to deliver new materials and remove existing materials required implementing construction with an ecological mindset, resulting in the recovery of as much existing material as possible.
“This undertaking motivated the clients to meticulously and thoroughly renovate the cottage in line with current building practices,” said the architects.
“A temporary cable crane was erected to transport all construction materials to the site, while ensuring the protection of mature trees along its path.”
“The client emphasized the conservation of all existing trees, as well as the revitalization of the lakefront. Local indigenous plants were added to the shoreline to promote organic renaturalization,” the studio added.
Ground floor plan
Mezzanine floor plan
Matière Première Architecture is a small architecture studio that has been located in the beautiful region of Catons de l’Est, in Québec, since 2016.
The firm is led by three founders, Etienne Chaussé, Marc-Antoine Chrétien, and Dominic Chaussé. Their work mostly focuses on rural residential projects designed by Matière Première architecture, and built by Nu Drom, their construction affiliate.
Project name: Chalet_A
Architect: Matière Première Architecture
Contractor: Nu Drom
All images © Ian Balmorel.
All drawings © Matière Première Architecture.
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