Set on a plot of land that gently slopes down toward a lake, this pavilion is surrounded on all sides by the exceptional vegetation of an old growth forest. A guest house with two bedrooms, a kitchen, and living room, the structure was built within very narrow constraints. The pavilion was required to sit atop the footprint of an existing cabin, with a maximum area of 115 m2, and had to be well integrated within the landscape.
To meet these demands, the conceptual approach was to create a completely transparent glass volume, covered by a vegetated roof that would appear to be continuous with the sloped terrain to the north. The home would also be elevated above the earth, treading lightly on the forest floor below.
The completed pavilion is framed between floor and ceiling, both structures cantilevered out toward the water, highlighting the horizontality of the construction and magnifying the views of the lake and the forest. Reflective surfaces mirror the surrounding vegetation by day, and become completely transparent at night. Every part of the pavilion is marked by precise detailing, from the clarity of the glazed exterior corners, to the expression of the floor and ceiling as single continuous planes. All mechanical and plumbing services are concealed within custom millwork that forms a pure wooden volume that also serves to separate the public and private spaces.
Sustainability was fundamental to the design. The high-performance envelope includes triple-paned glazing to reduce energy consumption in the challenging Quebec climate. Electrical and mechanical systems were managed by a home automation system to maximize efficiency. The natural features of the site were left untouched, and new landscape components were carefully selected to minimize their impact – the flat roof is planted with the same native plant species that were found throughout the property.
The client, an architect herself, wanted to create a signature structure to host guests within what was already a magnificent environment. Through meaningful collaboration, an innovative solution was found to meet the stringent project requirements, creating a singular piece of architecture that still allows the setting to speak for itself.