Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Le Grand Plateau in Lake Heron, Canada by Atelier Pierre Thibault
September 6th, 2014 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Atelier Pierre Thibault
At our first visit to Lake Heron in the Laurentides, we ended up in a forest enflamed by fall. We borrowed a small path to reach the top of the site where we found a clearing atop a promontory. We could contemplate the lake which was about 60 meters below. Small but sinuous, it gave the impression that a meander hid the invisible part of a larger lake. The silhouette of the mountains loomed in the distance. The scenery was of immense beauty. We all gasped discovering the site that day. We went down quietly through different ecosystems dotted with magnificent rocks. I remember a small forest of spruces with a constricted path the caused a rhythmic vertical which filtered the horizontality of the water.
From the lake, we could see the promontory that we had visited earlier on. As soon as the first sketches were drawn, the idea was to create a plateau where we could enjoy the view. This large terrace captures the sun as well as has a view on the lake. Unaware that the home is below, it is accessed from the top. This surface therefor serves as roofing. The needs of the house are based on a lower plane, placed on very thin columns to give the impression that the inhabited space floats, almost as if in levitation. The structural frame consists of nine squares each of four meters large and wide. We access the house at street level. We then follow a walkway on the side to reach a small outdoor terrace. We can then enter the heart of the home. The rooms are located on the hillside while the other rooms benefit from the opening of the landscape that seems amplified by large windows. The location and the simple volume of the Grand Plateau make it a place where you can enjoy a new perspective on the lake.
1) What can you tell me about the client and the brief you were given for the project?
The clients had in mind a house where they could spend their retirement together and enjoy a panoramic view of the lake. They wanted something that would be well integrated in the environment they loved so much. The clients were very involved in every decision that was made up to the little details so as to achieve the vision they had of a perfect combination between nature and architecture.
2) Is it a summer house or a permanent residence?
It is more of a retreat. It is their secondary residence but not a summer house since they enjoy it as much in winter as they do in summer. The house is used all year-round which is great since the area is extremely different when it is covered in snow then when in mid-July where the vegetation and sunshine take over.
3) What was the main thing you wanted to achieve with this property?
The main thing we wanted to achieve was the illusion of a grand plateau that would seem to be floating on a very steep hillside. It was very important to ensure that the house would be extremely well integrated as well as have the best view possible of the lake.
4) What materials are used for the construction and cladding of the building?
The structure is made out of steel. The windows are made of aluminium and the facing is wood.
5) Is there anything particularly innovative about how it was built?
The main innovation is found in the fact that the house is entered from the roof which is in fact a terrace. The building itself also seems very light as if it had been laid on that area with a lot of delicacy. Finally, the finesse of the structure especially the thin columns that hold the house in place seem almost surreal.
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