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Sitting on a rocky crest, this home is broken down into of a series of balanced volumes that give the effect of it sitting lightly on the land

The Estrade residence by Mu Architecture consists of a series of balanced masses that help reduce its impact on the hillcrest site Discover this article's resources 0


Estrade Residence by MU Architecture

Photography: Ulysse Lemerise Bouchard (YUL Photo)

Located in the verdant Laurentians in Quebec, the Estrade Residence reveals itself discreetly on the shores of Lac de la Cabane in St-Adolphe d’Howard.

The property takes the form of a rocky crest that plunges into the lake.

After studying the steep and rocky topography of the area that MU Architecture decided that the design of the home should highlight the distinctive qualities of the site.


The first objective was for the house to be in total harmony with its environment.

In order to create a path of disocvery, the design consists of a series of animated volumes that anchor, skirt or levitate on the site’s unevenness. The staggered and superimposed layout of these volumes generates a multitude of terraces within the site.

This results in a rich dialogue between the architecture and the natural landscape.

The house appears to sit on long natural stone walls projecting from the ground towards the landscape.

These long walls generate and enclose the rooms on the ground floor while giving users direct access to the land below. Rocks extracted during excavation were reused in landscaping around the house, so playing a continued role in the architectural narrative.

The arrangement of the masses mean the house is revealed slowly, volume after volume.

A wide recess under what seems to be a floating cube signals the entrance. Once inside, a sculptural staircase welcomes the visitor and unfolds in a large, light-filled space. The absence of columns in the design gives the glass railings a floating effect.

Minimalism and attention to detail bring a clean-lined but comfortable ambience to the interiors. Each corridor leads to a luminous opening, revealing the residence to be larger and more complex than appears at first sight. Different atmospheres at each level provide spaces offering both conviviality and privacy.

At ground floor level, the open space is well defined and offers breathtaking views of the lake. Bathed in natural light the main floor ends with a veranda that extends the kitchen to the outside.

This large ground floor volume stretches out over more than 60 feet in length perpendicularly to the natural ridge so as to maximize access to the panoramic views.

The black ash coloured kitchen and integrated furniture contrasts with the monochromatic whiteness of the walls. In addition, the double-sided fireplace located in the center of the common room accentuates the warm feel of the space.

The natural wood floors and the terrace allow for a seamless and subtle transition from the interior to the exterior.

This main volume is clad with cedar and forms the heart of the project, as a place to bring the family together. It marks the transition between lower spaces devoted to the activity of the children and the calm of the parental suite upstairs.

At the top, a second black cedar mass dramatically overlooks the entrance and dominates the surroundings. It houses the master suite, complete with a bathroom and a large walk-in robe.

The volumetric and vernacular aspect of the Estrade residence combined with its materiality creates an architectural style that respects its environment. Spread over several levels, it blends with nature and responds to the seasons of its setting.

Overall, this reduces the impact of the 3600s q ft home, reflecting the image of tranquility seen in its surroundings.

First published date: 14 January 2017

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Credit List

Project Name Estrade Residence
Location St-Adolphe d'Howard, Quebec
Architects MU Architecture
Project team Jean-Sébastien Herr, Charles Côté, Jean-Philippe Bellemare, Pierre-Alexandre Rhéaume, Floriane Deléglise
Contractor Paul Lalonde et fils