House on a Hill

Overlooking the Ouareau River in Saint-Donat, the House on a Hill is a renovation and extension project that capitalizes on the hidden potential of a unique existing building. This construction, carefully maintained by its new owners, has undergone interior renovations in recent years and the interventions are now aimed at the envelope in order to improve its energy performance, update its architectural expression and improve the living spaces of the ground floor reception area. The projected intervention takes these intentions and brings them together to offer a coherent expression to this generous residence.

The project is thus articulated around four main gestures; redefining the exterior wall materials, adressing the entrance’s expression, integrating the dinette and enlarging the living room.

The first intention of the clients was to improve the performance of the envelope and to conceal the high level of the foundations. Indeed, while the majority of the occupation of the land takes place on the plateau to the south of the house, the level of the foundations is rather adapted to the ground located to the north of the house where the outdoor space is limited by the forest and the drop separating the residence from the Ouareau River. The strategy adopted to address these different points is to work from the outside to redefine a horizontal line at the bottom of the resized openings and take advantage of the removal of the existing masonry in order to offer high energy performance to the envelope. Subsequently, the distribution and choice of materials aim to reinforce the horizontality of the original building, to highlight the main entrance and to establish consistency between the various interventions.

This secondary residence fulfills an important reception function for the owners and the discreet entrance from the original location is an element that the project addresses with restraint. By focusing on a reconfiguration of the carport, the project refocuses attention on the main entrance through landscape interventions, the exposure of the roof structure, the integration of architectural lighting and the choice of materials mentioned above. These interventions thus combine to offer a new perception of the entrance through an economy of gestures and a highlighting of the constructive qualities of the original building.

The original construction has been successively enlarged and these interventions present a variable respect toward the original volumetry. Indeed, the expansion to the East was the occasion for a broader renovation project that allowed its integration into the general expression of the building and the continuation of the horizontal lines that characterize the composition of the residence. The volume of the dinette was not the subject of the same attention and although this volume has become an essential part of the owners’ appreciation of the house, its integration into the current renovation project has been the subject of careful discussions in order to retain a strategy relying on the punctual nature of this volume. By using a language assimilated to the new interventions, the dinette is treated materially and structurally as a floating volume on the long south facade.

Finally, the current interior layouts offer generous living spaces with a cathedral ceiling where the exposed structure of the roof is a major fearture. The living room, although included in this large space, has a floor area that is clearly insufficient for the receptions hosted by its owners. In order to address this lack of space and take advantage of its orientation, the project plans to enlarge this room with a new volume with large openings allowing you to enjoy the overhanging view, the morning sun and more generally the exterior spaces to the north of the residence.

Year of construction : 2023-2024

Architecture: Studio MMA

Structural engineer : Calculatec Inc.

  • House on a Hill

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