Wooden villa in the forest
Wood & Sustainability in North America. Architecture that integrates with Nature

Architect Paul Bernier carries out a sustainable and site-sensitive project that preserves the topography, vegetation and natural appearance of the property. The customers have lived on the property for many years, they love its characteristics and know the territory well

The site facing the lake is entirely tree-lined. It is intersected by a stream on its south side and has a steep slope to the north. These features and the need to build at a certain distance from the current suggested a longitudinal positioning, with the house slipping between the current and the slope

Contemporary wooden villa

Architects choose a low-profile building, mainly on one floor. Its sinuous shape is determined by the possibilities of the surrounding landscape. The structure bends, opens and narrows like a river carving its own path. The structure is coated in a single material with vertical cedar staves of various widths and thicknesses positioned in an open manner. The waterproofing of the building is guaranteed under the spaced staves, which hide the flashing, drip-proof edges and finishes usually visible outside the traditional wooden structures. The surface, on the other hand, can be considered as a palisade that reflects the shape of the building and in which the openings have been carved

Contemporary wooden villa

From the path leading to the entrance, the building has the appearance of a predominantly opaque volume that follows the contours of the site. The garage is hidden from view. To the right, an opening in the palisade entices visitors to enter. Along the south facade, the volume of the house bends and opens to let in light and make the most of the view of the forest. Further on, the volume bends again, turning towards an opening in the forest that offers a view of the flux that flows into the lake. On the north side, smaller openings frame the views of the surrounding landscape and allow the occupants of the building to enjoy the gentle murmur of the stream, which still flows above the property. At the top of the roof, a small tree house room overlooks the surrounding greenery

Contemporary wooden villa

Over time, as the cedar curtains fade and the trees and ground cover grow around the building, the architecture and nature will blend. Nature will also be invited to cover the building itself, thanks to its green roof. When viewed from the studio on the roof or from the hill, the structure blends in with its natural environment

Contemporary wooden villa

Inside, the visitors are greeted by a large hickory wall unit, shaped to provide seating and a place to hang coats. It also directs one towards the living space, a large, generously lit area that culminates in a cantilevered hall, with a view of the mouth of the stream and the lake. On the south side, the outer wall gives way to a large glass surface that opens onto the forest. During the summer, trees, like the green roof, create a natural screen to protect the house from the heat. In winter, when the leaves have fallen, sunlight filters through the forest and floods the space with heat and light

Contemporary wooden villa

The materials used for the surfaces are simple and refined. The white walls and polished concrete floors contrast with the rugged natural environment, allowing the outdoor landscape to be at the centre of the scene

Contemporary wooden villa

The large open area is occupied by three masses of wood. They are positioned along an axis that outlines one through the sequence of spaces that make up the living area. Made of hickory, these built-in units include the wardrobe and bench unit in the entrance hall, the kitchen island and a cabinet for the television and sound system. Their functions are barely legible, allowing them to remain as abstract as possible in order to emphasize only their shape, material and relationship between them. The kitchen island is in the middle of the space and offers a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape

Contemporary wooden villa

A spacious unit is integrated in the entrance hall to screen over even the most private areas of the house. Hidden behind the large wooden structure is the entrance to the bedrooms, as well as the staircase leading to the reading room on top of the green roof. Upstairs, the space with wooden panels provides a quiet haven from the rest of the house

Contemporary wooden villa

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