By : Maurice Martel architecte
GRANDS PRIX DU DESIGN – 15e édition
Discipline : Architecture
Categories : Residential Building / Private House ≤ 2 000 pi2 (≤ 185 m2) : Gold Certification
Built with prefabricated walls, as part of a model house project, Butternut is a single-storey house that explores living as a game of volumes that balances openness and intimacy.
With the constraint of the dimensions of the structural insulated panels (SIP), the project represented a great challenge of construction and creativity for the architect. In order to break the standardization effect of prefabrication, the residence unfolds through four volumes playing with the heights and whose layout offers a rich journey with multiple views and atmospheres.
A volume that finds its balance between openness and intimacy
The lot, typical of a suburban home layout, did not offer much privacy. To preserve the proximity with the neighbors, the architect favored an installation in the form of an enclosure from which naturally emerges a protected interior courtyard. The strategic placement of a few perimeter walls around the residence makes openness rhyme with intimacy by letting in abundant light through large windows where vis-à-vis with the neighborhood are avoided.
Inside, neutral colors and raw materials set the tone for a simple and warm architecture. The details are worked with finesse, as evidenced by the joints between the walls and the ceiling and those between the plywood panels drawing fine slits. This lined language creates a discreet and elegant frame.
The kitchen, made in collaboration with “À Hauteur d’Homme”, is placed in the heart of the house, like a necessary passage to access the other rooms. Pleasant and compact, like the residence, it opens onto the interior courtyard.
Located in the highest volume, the bathroom offers a monumental experience, amplified by the doors and the walk-in curtain.
An architecture that weaves the dialogue between interior and exterior spaces
The different volumes of the house can be appreciated from the different courtyards and bring an urban and protective character to the space, while the presence of mature trees that stand out behind the volumes gives the outdoor landscape an exotic and rejuvenating character.
The project draws its strength from the attention paid to both interior and exterior spaces. Instead of the traditional garden of the suburban house, the architect offers several outdoor spaces offering different experiences. There is the garden area where we gather around a fire, the central courtyard around which the residence unfolds and which in summer becomes the continuity of the kitchen and the heart of the project, and another small courtyard exterior protected from the weather. The courtyards are elegant and run along concrete paths alongside wooden patios. The landscaping is neat and enriches the views from the interior spaces of the house.
Butternut is revealed at the rhythm of a journey that does not give everything to discover at a single glance. Within the four volumes that make up the architectural program, the views are rich, the spaces bright, and the quality of life preserved inside and outside the residence.