Embracing the Past: Residence de l’Isle

Designed for a Canadian couple and their two children in the northern suburbs of Montreal, Residence de l’Isle is a single-family home that is a reinterpretation of Modern American Houses of the mid-20th century.

Photo credit: Adrien Williams

The Chevalier Morales designed project is built on the banks of a river, hidden behind a row of tall, mature pines, with a placement that allows the existing natural vegetation to become an integral part of the development.

Revisiting some key architectural elements of modernism in a contemporary manner, the geometry of the floor and ceilings, the integrated wooden furniture and the masonry cladding have all been reimagined.

Photo credit: Adrien Williams

Photo credit: Adrien Williams

The garage is directly integrated into the house, which itself forms a perfect 100-foot square, and the two rectangular courtyards are inserted into the volume, bringing natural light into the heart of the residence, while also blending the backyard and the swimming pool.

The siting of the residence allowed the designers to refurbish the pre-existing alignments of the land while conserving as many existing trees as possible. Large coniferous trees were then planted in the heart of the first landscaped courtyard that provides vehicular access. Also, the living room space was lowered a few steps and a glass pavilion has been installed on the roof. While initially designed as a single-storey house, the pavilion creates a variety of spatial experiences.

Photo credit: Adrien Williams

The north-south axis of the project houses the more intimate spaces with the need for privacy, while the living spaces are spread out along the river. The position of the garage makes it possible to minimize the presence of the residence to the street as it follows the same axis as the pre-existing access road.

A palette of natural materials, including clay brick (wall), wood (soffit) and stone (flooring are natural), have been given preference.  Brass accents have been added to the project, as has metal cladding. On the front facade, a large bay window creates a visual flow through to the river while serving to accentuate the pavilion like feel of the design.

The mezzanine space that allows residents to benefit from an additional view onto the river serves to accentuate the composition and break up the horizontality of the residence. Some areas of the roof are covered with a white granular membrane while others have been landscaped. The overall emphasis of a sustainable design approach is enhanced through the incorporation of geothermal wells that provide both heating and ventilation for the residence.

Photo credit: Adrien Williams

Project data 
Location: the northern suburbs of Montreal, Québec, Canada
Area: 580 m2
Contractor: St-Laurent construction
Structural: Latéral
Landscape: Fabrique de paysages

Architect Team
Stephan Chevalier, Principal
Sergio Morales, Principal
Julie Rondeau, Architect
Christian Aubin, Architect
Ève Beaumont-Cousineau, Architect