Built on a very narrow and shallow lot, on a small Plateau-Mont-Royal street, this new 4-level Montreal residence is characterized by its small square footage per floor. In fact, living spaces have been divided over two levels; the kitchen and dining room face the yard whereas the mezzanine living room is perched above.
The house is of modest scale and spaces have thus been conceived with the intent of maximizing available surface area. The kitchen, located on the ground floor, adheres to this concept with its compact and highly functional design scheme. The entrance and cloakroom are separated from living spaces by a white kitchen cabinet block that allows light to pass above. The uninterrupted ceiling, meanwhile, provides the space with an accentuated impression of openness. The integrated furniture is distinguished by its minimalistic design and fine finishing details. With their quasi unreal thinness, the countertop edges and panels give the entire room an air of lightness. In heavy contrast, the kitchen island is defined by its matte black surfaces and accessories as well as the masculine character it lends to the room. Its work plan, oriented towards gigantic doors and windows, allows occupants to enjoy views of the entire space. The pervasive minimalism and sobriety of design lines emphasize the lightness of the staircase.
Each and every house opening has been placed in order to create light effects that are accentuated by the interior’s minimalist design. Ribbon windows flood basement spaces with natural light via an edge grating over which is located the patio. The façade, positioned directly on the street, is composed of two materials: the clay brick base reflects the dominant volumetry of the street whereas the upper portion, composed of sheet metal with rods, echoes the steep faubourg house roofs that exist in this area.
About la SHED architecture
As a company that performs the majority of its work in the residential and commercial sectors, la SHED has developed a thorough expertise in the renovation, transformation and construction of buildings of all types and all historical backgrounds. Openness, lighting and alignment are at the very core of all projects completed by the studio. Its achievements stand out as a result of their functional and contemporary layout, as well as their use of materials that are durable, affordable and classical. The importance given to finishing touches and the general quality of its achievements is, amongst other reasons, a result of tight monitoring throughout the entire project execution process from start to end of construction. The reconfiguration of exiguous spaces, the optimal usage of space and dealing with precise and restrictive budgets are all constraints that la SHED has excelled at dealing with in the past, managing to conceive seductive and intelligently designed spaces regardless of limitations.
The firm was established when architect associates Sébastien Parent, Yannick Laurin, Renée Mailhot and three talented employees all united by a passion for architecture, design and Montreal, decided to team up to form La SHED. The studio is dedicated to a new type of architectural relationship, where to call an architect would scarcely be stranger than hiring a accountant – a relationship where conceiving your own living space would neither be a luxury nor would it be utopic.
La SHED offers an innovative and inclusive approach for its renovation, expansion and new construction projects. This approach makes architectural services accessible for any scale of project as well as any budget. It is also for the purpose of accessibility that the firm has chosen to make its home in a storefront boutique location. The workshop, visible from the street, is configured in order to optimize teamwork, an essential ingredient in stimulating creativity. Weaker ideas are eliminated for the benefit of the more creative ones. The synergy of the la SHED team can be felt not only in project work, but also in the conviction that architecture can be done differently by developing partnerships with people who choose to invent, or reinvent, their lifestyle.
Upon completion of its second project, la Maison Demers, la SHED was overwhelmed with critical success and has since been highlighted in a number of specialized magazines and has received a variety of design awards. Notably, the firm is the recipient of the 2016 Emergent Architectural Practice Award given by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC). Even though the team now has ten members, all decisions are made as they were on the first day – they are “submitted to the board” around the same large table.
Location: Montréal, Québec, Canada
Architect: la SHED architecture
Project end date: August 2016
Photographer: Maxime Brouillet