A Dome for All Seasons

From a narrow clearing in the woods, three white domes perch on the edge of a hill. Tucked away below the majestic foliage of Petite-Rivière-Saint-François, next to the Massif de Charlevoix near Québec City, the unique accommodations are easy to miss. Deferring to the resplendent landscape, each pared-down geodesic structure introduces a subtle presence that draws attention away from itself, creating a comfortable vantage point to take in the grandeur of the St. Lawrence River valley below.

Designed by Québec City-based Bourgeois / Lechasseur architectes, the domes are conceived as a high-performance, reinforced canvas membrane stretched atop a concrete base. The streamlined circular footprint, the lightness of the structure, and the dome’s organic form all serve to create an aesthetically unified presence that seeks harmony with its surroundings. Inside, the Dômes Charlevoix offer simple but surprisingly luxurious accommodation. A minimal, earthy colour palette complements the aesthetic unity of the dome structure. Light wood tones are a highlight throughout, fostering a sense of warmth and comfort.

At the heart of each dome, an integrated central console anchors the space. Featuring an impressive range of amenities including a full kitchen and a compact bathroom with roll-in shower, the central unit resolves at a centrally placed bed overlooking the valley below. Above, the versatile black box volume is topped by a second, loft-style sleeping space, taking full advantage of the dome’s height to maximize utility.

The layout is elegant and rational. Inside the circular dome, a rectilinear volume serves to create discrete spaces within an open whole. The kitchen, bed, bathroom door, and loft stairs are all discretely separated on four sides of the box, with the private and enclosed bathroom tucked in the middle of it all. Without introducing standalone walls and partitions, the design creates subtly delineated spaces that feel open but not exposed. Radiant concrete flooring helps maintain a uniform temperature throughout, while introducing a more textured earthy surface that complements the lighter wooden elements as well as the black volume’s sleeker form.

Embedded into the structure of each dome, windows lend each suite a panoramic view of the valley. Here, the spaces present another small moment of design excellence, as the dome’s triangular reinforced structures become visible, framing the surrounding landscape. In creating a simple vessel that highlights the surrounding landscape, Bourgeois / Lechasseur’s eye-catching domes become quiet architectural highlights in their own right.

Photos by Maxime Valsan