Canadian architect Natalie Dionne has completed a forest retreat in southeastern Quebec, which is raised up on stilts to meet the level of the rocky landscape.
The site featured a rocky outcrop, including one particular boulder that rose three meters above ground level. As a result, more natural light is able to penetrate the living spaces. Also the house can benefit from better views, looking out over the ridge towards the forest landscape beyond.
A desire to make the house environmentally friendly led to the use of wood for much of the house’s structure and surfaces. While concrete and steel was used for the main framework, and particularly the raised elements, the roof is supported by a structure made from engineered wood produced from Northern Québec black spruce. Meanwhile the facades are cold with eastern white cedar, which has been pretreated to make it more durable, which will also allow it grey faster. The aim of such use of the materials was to blend into the landscape like a chameleon sunning itself on a rock.
The building contains two storeys, covering an area of 215 square metres, or 2,300 square feet. The lower level, which takes up just a fraction of the overall footprint, is predominantly an entrance level, although it also contains a guest room containing bunkbeds – room for up to 10 guests to stay. Upstairs, the staircase divides the floor into two sections. On one side is the master bedroom suite, which nestles into the trees to the south. The other side contains a large lounge, kitchen and dining space. Sliding glass doors allow the living space to open out to a large, partially shaded terrace.
Wood is a recurring theme through the interior. Other surfaces are more clean and minimal, preventing a log-cabin aesthetic. Floors are polished concrete, while the windows are framed by natural aluminium, another material that is easy to recycle.