nestled among the woodland landscape in quebec, the clients asked montreal-based firm architecturama to design a holiday retreat catered for independent visits, with a group of friends or as a family. called ‘lake jasper house’, the cubic structure – clad in locally sourced white cedar tongue-and-groove siding – has been divided into functional types: minimalist and maximal space.


the programs requiring privacy and built-in elements have been group at the north side, while the communal spaces occupy the south end. the development of the scheme saw the architects working with the surroundings – to create a symbiosis with the site and a reduced environmental footprint, which inherently led to a reflection process on the functional elements and it’s optimization.

the structure is clad in a white cedar siding
all images © james brittain photography



from the site-selection phase, sustainability was a main component of the design; optimizing bioclimatic potential was one of the project goals. by building the structure with a fully south-facing façade, the arrangement of the scheme made it possible to make the most of a set of windows with a fine view that maximize passive solar heating. a large overhang, designed to make use of the changing angle of the sun, prevents overheating in summer while maximizing winter sunlight.

the indoor and outdoor bench system meet at right angles, and are built into the main space



a distinctive feature inside is inclining bench system serving as oversized furniture, an agora, socializing area, and bookshelves. they reference bleacher-style benches and meet at right angles, allowing they to be reconfigured to different as such as tables and steps.

the agora layout strengthens interaction; a fireplace, movie projector and cushions help people enjoy the space



a sensory experience has been highlighted through contrasts, ambiances, materiality and lighting. ‘as if suspended between treetops, nature’s immanent spectacle takes place.’ explains architecturama ‘in this observatory, the impression is both of being protected and projected. both solemn and spiritual, the house comes to life and becomes something entirely different when several people are present.’

the glazed wall allow uninterrupted views of the pristine scenery

below the bench system the many thin columns resemble trees in the forest

the inclining benches form a seamless link from the outside and inside

the benches can be integrate into dining tables

the close links uniting the architecture with nature emerge through ambiances, relationships, mimetic qualities

 front windows open at the bottom and rear windows that open at the top promote cross ventilation



project info:


typology: residential
area: 80 m² (140 m² floor area)
conception: 2011-2013
construction: 2012-2014
architect: architecturama
project team: sylvain bilodeau, architecte, nicolas mathieu-tremblay, architecte
structure: genivar (now wsp)
general contractor: les entreprises sylvain lachance
exterior cladding: éco-cèdre inc.