Contemporary Hill-Maheux Cottage, Canada
Ottawa-based design studio Kariouk Associates has designed the Hill-Maheux Cottage. Completed in 2010, the contemporary cottage can be located in Val-des-Monts, Quebec, Canada.
According to the architects the Design Challenge was:
“In this small, weekend and vacation retreat, the client and their daughter wanted to take refuge from the world. As such, the contemporary Canadian home is introverted; but the clients also desired that the house achieve a maximum connection to its beautiful, forested, lake-side site. It is important to note that the home was built as a place where the clients could spend the rest of their lives and then pass the property on to their daughter.”
The Design Solution:
The design of this contemporary Canadian cottage was simple: two ‘bars’ of living space—one private containing bedrooms, bathrooms, and storage; one public containing family living areas joined by an elliptical loft—the daughter’s domain—that intersects each ground-floor volume and hovers over the foyer giving shelter to the entry below.
Rather than ‘walling-in’ the two ground-level volumes to achieve privacy, they were sited on the edge of the property where vegetation was the densest and were made with large expanses of glass. The glass and aluminum curtain wall exterior was juxtaposed with hand-made, luxurious, ephemeral drapery (sometimes opaque, sometimes translucent, sewn by the couple and their daughter during time spent at the cottage) that billows throughout the interior (as explained graphically in the computer animation). This drapery (as well as integral lighting) suspends from two metal rods – one representing the parents, and one representing their daughter – which travel throughout the contemporary Canadian house crossing and bypassing each other in a complex choreography that is scripted as a metaphor for their particular family’s life journey.
The loft volume above the entry is surfaced with a ‘quilt’ of copper and zinc printing plates. Many of the plates, etched with landscapes, appear on the underside of the volume (the foyer ceiling). However, before the plates were installed, images of those plates were pressed upon fabric and sewn into the drapery as mementos; the remaining, yet-unhatched plates can be removed.
Images courtesy if Photolux Studios (Christian Lalonde).
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