Profile of the terrain. The exterior volumetry is abstract and intriguing. Two volumes with irregular angles are anchored to retaining walls holding the soil on a slope. The black pine walls contribute to the strangeness of this form, which intersects the landscape without imposing itself. It is inscribed in the place.

Location: Cap à l’aigle, Québec, Canada
Year of completition: September 2018
Area: m2  / 2 375 ft

Lead Architect: Alain Carle
Project manager: Gabriel Ostiguy

Contractor: Demonfort
demonfort.ca
Engineers: NICK- Paul Henry Boutros
Cladding: Painted wood (fraser wood)
fraserwoodsiding.com
Windows: Alumilex
alumilex.com
Fire place: Stûv America
stuvamerica.com
Flooring: Planchers RBC
rbchardwoods.com
Photo credit: Raphael Thibodeau

Les Rorquals By Alain Carle Architect - Sheet3
Its internal organization extends this relationship with the topography, like an interior landscape: hills, slate plateaus, erratic black boulders… The interior spaces are declined in split levels from the street access level. The reception floor is extended to form one of the kitchen counters. Farther in, wide steps introduce the living and dining room spaces, while offering themselves as informal benches, facing the landscape that opens before you: Charlevoix, and the grandeur of the St. Lawrence.

Les Rorquals By Alain Carle Architect - Sheet5

The plan is conceptually developed as a maze of spaces interconnected by voids that act as small scale spaces (or subspaces) procuring micro spaces that can be recuperated by the inhabitant: Small inner courtyards blocking the winds, semi-open spaces protected from the rain and spaces lit from the sky marking specific areas. These features, along with generous portions of glass opening up on the horizon, blur the boundaries between interior and exterior to provide a complex relationship with the landscape, amplified by the many artificial reflections of the glass or metal surfaces. In a way, it sets the house in an unstable condition of permanent reshape. It becomes a device to perceive the landscape rather than a fixed, self referenced architecture.

Les Rorquals By Alain Carle Architect - Sheet6

Ephemeral and Perennity

As an analogy to the transformation of landscape by humans, the project also introduces temporality: Permanent components of the house alternate with more ephemeral ones. The outskirt of the house is delineated by a permanent boundaries in concrete (linked to the legal occupation of the site) while the house itself could have more flexible or ephemeral construct in metal. As if the house would anticipate its own transformation within an invariable boundary. These opposites are an inherent characteristics of any built form, set between immutable parameters and ever changing ones. The house assumes this unstable position and anticipate, in its structural details, the eminent changes that occupation will provoke.

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