A gentle giant of a winter cabin: unifying inspiration with individualism

The Hatley House - Pelletier de Fontenay, Quebec, Canada

The Hatley House, located in Quebec, Canada, is a stunning example of local housing design. Designed by Pelletier de Fontenay in collaboration with Francois Abbott, this home seamlessly blends in with its surroundings, drawing inspiration from the farmhouses, barns, and sheds that dot the landscape. It embodies an abstract interpretation of the area’s architectural language, showcasing a unique combination of inspiration and individualism.

Perched on a natural plateau, the Hatley House offers panoramic views of the countryside and mountain ranges. From the outside, it may appear as three separate smaller houses clustered together. However, in reality, it consists of three identically shaped volumes that differ in size and function. These volumes are interconnected without intersecting, creating a visual illusion that transforms as one moves through the house. To ensure privacy, the smaller wings of the house feature wooden-clad mezzanines above the bedrooms, providing a hidden retreat for relaxation and rejuvenation. This design, with three wings reaching up to 8 meters wide, along with a central communal wing, a master wing, and a guest wing, not only creates a distinctive external look but also maintains a clear and fluid layout on the inside.

The strikingly large windows, visible from the exterior, play a significant role in the Hatley House’s design. Carefully framing selected views like individual photographs, these windows add a unique touch to the house, experimenting with the orientation of this basic architectural element.

The Hatley House can be best described as unifying without simplifying. This theme is evident in various structural features, such as the continuous concrete foundation that runs through all the wings, the deep timber attic facade that elegantly wraps around the entire structure, and the galvanized steel roof present on all three wings. These elements create an integrated look from the outside while allowing for individualization on the inside.

The interior design of the Hatley House complements the grey concrete with stained wood, adding a sense of lightness to the space. The mezzanine levels are covered in wooden panels, further enhancing this feeling. The abundant skylights, a characteristic feature of many mountain homes in the area, illuminate the double-height spaces, contributing to the overall sense of lightness. The sharp angles on the interior roofs and the square-shaped corridors create a minimalist and luxurious mountain home that pays homage to the surrounding architectural history.

When viewed from one of the three courtyards that encompass the structure, the Hatley House impresses with its deep understanding of theme. It is a house that is truly multi-layered, not confined under one roof but still interconnected.

In conclusion, the Hatley House is a remarkable winter cabin that seamlessly blends inspiration with individualism. Its design, inspired by local housing, creates a harmonious connection with the landscape, while its unique features and thoughtful details set it apart. With its panoramic views, clever use of space, and emphasis on light, this house stands as a testament to the power of architectural innovation.

Pelletier de Fontenay

Related Articles