Grand-Pic Chalet is a lofty cottage located in Austin, Quebec, where the surrounding ferns and birchwood trees inspired the home’s design and construction process.
Austin is a small, quaint, and forested town on the western shore of Lake Memphremagog in the Estrie region of Quebec, Canada. Known for its panoramic lake and mountain views, Austin has a certain charm that appeals to nature lovers everywhere. Just northwest of Austin, in the bustling city of Montreal, the Appareil Architecture firm designed a cottage, Grand-Pic Chalet, to nestle right up against the tall, lanky trees, towering above the fern-strewn forest floor.
Measuring 1464sqf, Grand-Pic Chalet certainly is grand, yet still unassuming amidst the surrounding birch trees. Taking note of the wooded area’s flora and saplings, the architects at Appareil let the trees and forest guide their design process.
Inspired by the lanky birch trees around Grand-Pic Chalet, Appareil architects clad the cottage in corrugated steel to complement the organic vertical lines found throughout the forest. Cloaked by lush black facades, come dusk the Grand-Pic Chalet disappears into the dark like a rider in the night.
Glowing from the inside, warm, golden light pours from expansive windows at night and draws natural sunlight in during daylight hours. Maintaining the lofty height seen from its exterior, the open-plan layout of Grand-Pic Chalet makes for soaring ceiling heights that allow for flooding of natural sunlight to fill the home. In this way, the changing lights from day to night mimic the transition between daylight and dusk experienced in the forest.
Grazing the forest floor, Appareil constructed a cedar-paneled walkway that leads residents and their guests from the parking lot to the cottage’s main living space and supplemental storage shed, which also dons a black corrugated steel facade. Moving inside, the difference between the facade and the home’s interiors is like night and day.
In direct contrast to the home’s richly dark facade, the interior walls are lined with Russian birchwood panels that evoke the same cozy appeal as the forest’s surrounding trees. During the day, the home is entirely brightened with natural sunlight and remains a nest-like haven come dark. Centered around the kitchen, Grand-Pic Chalet strays away from unnecessary walls and doors to give the interior an unrestricted and candid personality, much like the forest that it calls home.
Designer: Appareil Architecture