charred wood ski chalet by atelier RZLBD tucks into sloping terrain in rural canada

charred wood ski chalet by atelier RZLBD tucks into sloping terrain in rural canada

feline chalet embraces scenic mountain views

 

In rural Collingwood, Canada, Atelier RZLBD’s Feline tucks into a sloping site encircled by the natural landscape. The wooden ski chalet opens out onto scenic views of the Blue Mountain, the Osler Bluff, and a small creek flowing into the Georgian Bay, creating a tranquil refuge. It is resolved into three discrete cabin structures — the ‘hut’, the ‘bridge’, and the ‘cave’. Both visually and metaphorically, the ‘hut’ is like a head with two penetrating eyes, the ‘cave’ a body with four legs, and the ‘bridge’ a neck that connects the two. ‘It forms an image of a cat lying on the ground, as if a giant cat, with its sensitivity and instinct, has found the most comfortable and safe place and posture to be – the Feline Chalet,’ notes architect Reza Aliabadi.

 

By adopting a segmented approach to design, adhering to the site’s contours, and arranging the ensemble from west to east on the site’s north edge, Feline exemplifies both a regional and rational approach. Maximizing even solar exposure through strategic windows and openings, the chalet optimizes passive radiant heating through thermal mass stored in the concrete floor. At the same time, this peripheral location preserves the existing landscape and flora as much as possible and keeps the option of building ancillary structures or even another house in the future.

charred wood ski chalet by atelier RZLBD tucks into sloping terrain in rural canada
all images by Riley Snelling

 

 

atelier rzlbd presents ensemble of three wooden volumes

 

Atelier RZLBD envelops the large, cubic ‘hut’ in charred wood along the facade and plywood within where it houses a single expansive room dedicated to communal gatherings around the fire and panoramic vistas. Oriented at a 45-degree angle, it features triangular windows on the west walls that offer unobstructed views of the mountains perpendicularly. A suspended fireplace nestled between these windows serves as the focal point, while modular seating arrangements ensure versatility in spatial configuration. This enhances prominence to the unchanging presence of the fireplace and the mountain views.

 

The square floor plan is bisected diagonally, in which the first half towards west is double-height and the second half towards the kitchen and the dining room is each single-height. Supported by the steel structure, these different programs exist as one fluid space, free of any interior partitions and load-bearing elements. The wide-span steel truss between the ceiling and the mezzanine, which is the protagonist of the steel structure, is left exposed to showcase the space’s structural ingenuity.

charred wood ski chalet by atelier RZLBD tucks into sloping terrain in rural canada
Atelier RZLBD divides Feline into an ensemble of three cabin structures

 

 

The ‘cave,’ on the other hand, is a modular sanctuary finished in a contrasting material and form. Its indented volume with repetitive recessed windows and projected appendixes is resulted by prioritizing clean, linear volumes of the interior spaces, including built-in millworks and furniture. Housing essential amenities such as bedrooms, bathrooms, a laundry and mechanical room, and a garage, it is split by a long corridor in the middle. Each of the four bedrooms are equal and modest in size, with south-facing windows give all family members the same degree of engagement with the house and its engulfing context.

 

Extending from the ‘cave’, the ‘bridge’ is a slender structure containing a staircase and a corridor that transitions between public and private realms. It also addresses the site’s topographical variations, integrating all structures of the ensemble into the natural slope. Additionally the ensemble is positioned away from flood-prone areas with the Silver Creek on the east edge and a ditch on the south, built on the peak on the sloping site’s northern part to maintain the existing flood line, which is the most hydrologically safe construction strategy. 

charred wood ski chalet by atelier RZLBD tucks into sloping terrain in rural canada
enveloped in charred wood on the facade and plywood within

charred wood ski chalet by atelier RZLBD tucks into sloping terrain in rural canada
the cubic ‘hut’ houses a single room dedicated to communal gatherings around the fire and panoramic vistas

charred wood ski chalet by atelier RZLBD tucks into sloping terrain in rural canada
the Feline Chalet was designed to create a tranquil refuge for the clients

charred wood ski chalet by atelier RZLBD tucks into sloping terrain in rural canada
a hanging steel truss is the protagonist, left exposed to showcase the space’s structural ingenuity

charred wood ski chalet by atelier RZLBD tucks into sloping terrain in rural canada
a suspended fireplace nestled between the large windows

charred wood ski chalet by atelier RZLBD tucks into sloping terrain in rural canada
the chalet ebraces scenic views of the Blue Mountain, the Osler Bluff, and a creek flowing into the Georgian Bay

feline

feline 5
view along the bridge between the ‘hut’ and the ‘cave’

atelier-rzlbd-feline-designboom-f1

 

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project info:

 

name: Feline
architecture: Atelier RZLBD

lead architect: Reza Aliabadi

design assistant: James Chungwon Park

design team: Katie Wang, Levi Bruce

structural engineer: Joe Lee Engineering Co. LTD.

mechanical engineer: V & P Enterprises

construction management: Shima Homes

photography: Riley Snelling

 

 

designboom has received this project from our DIY submissions feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

 

edited by: ravail khan | designboom

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