Metal skin envelopes white cedar residence in the Charlevoix region of Quebec
Last summer, MU Architecture completed an inviting home at the top of a ridge in the Charlevoix region of Quebec. With extensive views over the St. Lawrence River and raw, undulating landscape, the two-storey residence draws on its close proximity to a forest and reinterprets the traditional barn structure often found in the area.
Designed for Florent Moser and Alain Rajotte, the private home is wrapped in a protective metal skin which is stripped back inside to reveal soft white cedar planks. MU Architecture explains: “As if the metal skin has been stripped off to reveal a more fragile interior, the envelope evokes the idea of a tree’s bark protecting its inner core.” While this arrangement works on a symbolic level, it also protects the building from the elements on its elevated site.
The design team have organised the property to take full advantage of the ruggedly beautiful landscape with wide windows framing views towards the river and forest. The main bulk of the building has been sliced through with three volumetric cuts which mark the ground floor entrance and two terraces on the first floor.
On entering at ground floor level, the residents are greeted by a white cedar staircase which contrasts dramatically with its hot rolled steel railing acting 'as a backbone connecting the different levels of the house’. Branching off the main lobby on the ground floor are four generously-sized en-suite bedrooms. The stairs lead down to a basement level and a blend of wood-clad and concrete walls which line the playroom and children’s bedrooms.
At first floor level is an open-plan space that combines the kitchen, dining room and lounge in a light-filled volume that looks out over the picturesque landscape. The floor is polished concrete which reflects the sunlight that streams in through large windows and glass doors providing access to external terraces, while a fireplace at the centre of the room provides a focus point.
Client: Florent Moser, Alain Rajotte
Architects: MU Architecture
Project team: Charles Côté, Jean-Sébastien Herr, Jean-Philippe Bellemare, Pierre-Alexandre Rhéaume, Sabrina Charbonneau
Structural Engineer: Chevrons Charlevoix