The Estrade Residence by MU Architecture explores the ever-changing relationship between earth and water. Located prominently along the shores of Lac de la Cabine near Montreal, Canada, this modern mountain home develops an immediate connection to the steep slope that cascades alongside it, while pointing the experience beyond the hillside and out towards the distant body of water. The design balances this dichotomy with an elegant resolution by carrying itself carefully down the landscape, while being sure never to take your view away from the horizon.
Guests enter the home at the top of the hill through an aperture carved into the sidewall of the home’s most prominent facade. A two-car garage flanks on the right, while the rest of the home acts as a visual analogy to the downturned landscape. A dark, earth toned horizontal wood siding melts perfectly with surrounding retaining walls, which are made mostly of stone. A series of rockeries and monolithic stone steps provide an outdoor path through the lush gardens and yards that surround the home.
Upon entering, you are greeted with a series of interconnected open spaces and an expansive view out towards the back of the home. The natural feel of the exterior materials is mirrored on the interior, with large sections of wall accented in dark wood. The ceiling, by contrast, is composed of a lighter wood material with sporadic incidences of dropped pendants and recessed can lights. Together the public spaces feel united, and set up to reinforce the design’s most successful feature – framing views.
A thin piece of full-height glass and an almost-transparent cable guardrail are all that separates the viewer from the spectacular Canadian countryside. A lake looms in the distance, but is otherwise interrupted by an expansive canopy of hardwood trees. It’s easy to understate the beauty of the architecture because of how stunning everything around it truly is.
The lower floors are reserved for the private bed and bathroom spaces, save for a secondary gathering space that spills to the lowest of several terraced patio areas. Moving through the home gives guests the feeling of dissenting further into nature’s paradise, before finally being discharged into the wild green and blue yonder.
MU Architecture strike a perfect balance natural elements with the Estrade Residence. They mix architecture with landscape in a way few residential works achieve, and achieve a new standard in critical regionalism and modern design.
Architects: MU Architecture
Photography: Ulysse Lemerise Bouchard