Temporality and program


The site is part of a real estate development on the approaches to the town of Saint-Sauveur in the Laurentians. This area is in Montréal’s second ring of outlying communities, where the occupants have chosen to settle to combine a lifestyle in a natural setting (in the mountains) with the conveniences of a small regional town. They have also chosen to make their project multigenerational, by allocating spaces for grandparents and their children.

项目的设计方Alain Carle Architecte Inc.事务所曾于2019年在拉瓦尔大学建筑学院举办的装置展览“ L’Empreinte – Le Parloir”中,提出了一种空间临时性的概念,而Koya住宅的设计就是这种概念的延伸与落实。同样的设计原则也在该事务所的另一个住宅项目“ True North”中有所体现。

The Maison Koya project proposes a variation on the concept of temporality of the work set out in the presentation of the installation project L’Empreinte – Le Parloir (The Footprint – The Parlor) presented in the Hors Catégorie section this year. It presents an offshoot of this principle in the control universe, an application also found in the True North project we present the same category.

▼项目概览,overall of the project © Raphael Thibodeau


There is thus a temporal relationship, which poses an interesting problem for the design of this residence’s spaces. We are interested in the changing nature of the program, the family composition and the residents’ location in the spaces that are bound to change over time within the complex.

▼场地主入口,entrance of the site © Raphael Thibodeau


The Footprint: Inscribing the time in the soil


The project instead revolves around this temporal relationship, by structuring a mode of implementation related to the topographical features rather than to a logic of single-family row housing, typical of suburban areas. The project’s morphology materially distinguishes the more permanent elements of the residence, in concrete, from the more ephemeral components in wood. Like a sculptural bas-relief, the main traffic axes on the site become the two axes of composition of the complex. Different concrete retaining walls, landings and transitional stairways install a new topography on the site, a conclusive structuring for what happens next. Deep geothermal boreholes “anchor” the composition in sustainability and address the energy needs metaphorically rather than in strictly technical terms.

▼错落有致的混凝土挡土墙、室外露台与过渡楼梯,iDifferent concrete retaining walls, landings and transitional stairways © Raphael Thibodeau


Three wooden volumes are then deposited on the exterior of this new topography to accommodate the changing nature of the program. They are cantilevered on the concrete structures, in an unstable situation, and point respectively in opposite directions. Thus, this complex is detached from a conventional composition of the suburban single-family home, which often has a very distinct expression between the front and rear facades, to the complete detriment of the sides. Maison Koya instead seeks to establish a more open relationship with the site in the broader sense.

▼木制体量悬挑在混凝土结构上方, wooden volumes are cantilevered on the concrete structures © Raphael Thibodeau

▼悬挑局部,detail of the cantilevered wooden volume © Raphael Thibodeau


By configuring a formal coherence with the whole, and not establishing any marked hierarchy in relation to the place, we establish a critical posture regarding the hegemony of urban planning standards, similar from one city to another, which finally dictate uniform spatial arrangements, trivializing the relationship between life and space. The morphology here instead attempts, by multiple sawtooth patterns and small outdoor subspaces, to establish a diversified reading of the landscape, regardless of the structure of the lots or a single landscape component.

▼立面与屋檐局部,detail of the facade and eaves © Raphael Thibodeau

▼错落的屋檐勾勒出天空,The strewn eaves outline the sky © Raphael Thibodeau


Alterity: the problem of the panorama


Indeed, the idea of preferring a single point of view on the landscape (as the dominant observer) seems to attest to a recurring architectural problem, the outcome of a thinking that favours the building as an “object”. In this perspective, the spaces are designed in the absence of reality as it is offered, in all its ambiguity and impurity, legitimizing a stylistic (i.e. canonical) approach instead of an approach based on the alterity of the form. Once again, the issue is not to work with ambiguity for the sake of ambiguity, to make it a “style” per se, but rather to accept the share of alterity offered by the infinite configurations of reality.

▼大面积的玻璃将环境引入室内,Large areas of glazing bring the environment into the interior © Raphael Thibodeau

▼底层外立面细部,exterior detail of the ground level © Raphael Thibodeau


One characteristic of the site was that even though it was defined according to a typically cadastral route, the landscape components were truly singular. A large gently sloping plane, constituting an intermediate plateau between two steep slopes, one of them looking out on a panoramic view of Mont Saint-Sauveur. Despite this spectacular aspect, we wanted to free the project from a spatial composition that would only prefer this panoramic point of view, so as to engage in another type of relationship with the landscape, a plural relationship.

▼不同材质的室外台阶,Outdoor steps with different materials © Raphael Thibodeau

Legitimacy of movement

There are multiple accesses to the building without a specific hierarchy. In continuity with the landscape, these accesses have a fluid relationship with the lower spaces, where the indifferentiation of the building’s internal traffic system seeks to engage a non-hierarchical relationship with the landscape (here see the typically suburban context of the neighbouring structures).

▼客厅概览,overall of the living room © Raphael Thibodeau


Only a central space situated at the intersection of the three wood structures constitutes a place of convergence for the three generations inhabiting the complex. This metaphorically is the meeting place, a “public place” materially inscribed in the permanence of the mineral structure. This is the founding place of the complex, inscribed in movement. This possibility of moving between the internal and external parts of the building engages a type of open use, a possibility of reconfiguration of the occupations of the spaces over time, as if each of the three structures could be reconfigured according to the changes of use.

▼三个木制结构体量的交汇处成为整个住宅交通流线的核心,The intersection of three wooden structures forms the core of the circulation of the house © Raphael Thibodeau

▼多元化的景观视野,Diversified landscape views © Raphael Thibodeau

▼室内细部,detail of the interior © Raphael Thibodeau

在某种程度上,项目的本质在于将时间的概念嵌入每个建筑结构中,将空间与时间,或至少是对时间的预期相融合。正视建筑与场地之间不断发展变化的关系,也是项目的核心设计理念之一。除此之外,Alain Carle Architecte Inc.的建筑师们认为高品质的住宅空间应该是标准化建筑与理想化设计的媒介。在这样的郊区环境中,Koya住宅以独特的姿态从重复单调的周边建筑群中脱颖而出。

In a certain way, the essence of the project resides in the relationship between the necessity of creating a temporality for every built structure, of inscribing the concept of space in time, or at least in anticipation of time. Moreover, the connection with the territory as a source of alterity (and not of identity) is also at the core of our engagement in practice. Beyond this, we refer to the necessity of designing architecture as mediation of an otherness that is tamed and that influences the very meaning of the thought. In a suburban context like this one, where there is often only repetition and solitude, this critical posture has become essential.

▼总平面图,master plan © Alain Carle Architecte Inc.

▼地下层平面图,basement floor plan © Alain Carle Architecte Inc.

▼底层平面图,ground floor plan © Alain Carle Architecte Inc.

▼立面图,elevations © Alain Carle Architecte Inc.

Project size:7500 ft2
Building levels:2
Project team:Alain Carle Architecte Inc.
Photo credit:Raphael Thibodeau